Things are looking up for Yoenis Cespedes as the New York Mets backed up the Brinks truck for him.
At the end of the 2015 Major League Baseball season, second baseman Neil Walker became a hot commodity. Walker had spent the first seven years of his MLB career with the Pittsburgh Pirates which included a trip to the postseason in each of the last three years. But with Walker scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2016, the small-market Pirates didn’t want to see him leave town without them getting something in return. This notion led to Walker being traded this past off-season to the New York Mets in exchange for starting pitcher Jon Niese.
Walker is making the most of his season with the Mets as he is one the verge of surpassing his career-high in home runs (23) which he set in 2014, as his 22 homers are currently tied for the team lead in the category. Walker is also batting .279 with an on-base percentage of .341 as in my opinion he should be the team’s MVP. Walker was supposed to be a cog in the wheel for the Mets as they are looking to get back to the postseason, but he has been the team’s best player as injuries to third baseman David Wright, first baseman Lucas Duda, and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes have put him in the spotlight as the go-to-guy in their lineup. Walker’s hustle and slick fielding have made him a fan favorite in Queens, and he could be forcing the hand of Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to fork over a large amount of money to him in the off-season.
When Walker came to New York, he was charged with replacing a fan favorite at second base in Daniel Murphy. Murphy had spent the first seven years of his Major League Baseball career with the Mets, and although that he wasn’t the most talented player in the world, he could never be accused of not giving maximum effort. Murphy enjoyed a career year in 2015 as he hit 14 home runs with 73 runs batted in which helped the Mets win the National League East for the first time since 2006. But Murphy would make his mark in the postseason where he became the first player in MLB history to hit a home run in six consecutive games as he helped the Mets reach the World Series. The Mets were not willing to give Murphy the long-term contract that he was seeking which led to him leaving as a free agent to join the Washington Nationals. And now Murphy has become one of the better hitters in baseball as he has a new career-high in home runs (22), and runs batted in (87), while his .344 batting average is tops in the N.L.
Walker isn’t going to make the folks in the Big Apple completely forget about Murphy; especially since the Nationals are well on their way to winning the National League East, but he really picked the opportune time to have the season that he is currently having.
During the off-season the Mets took some flack for allowing Murphy to leave which came down to money and the fact that Alderson didn’t believe in his defense at second base. And yes the Mets will have the opportunity over the winter to offer Walker the same salary arbitration that they did to Murphy which would enable them to receive an additional draft pick should he leave, but Walker has New York right where he wants them.
The Mets don’t have anyone in their minor-league system that is ready to be a quality everyday second baseman; especially since they traded Dilson Herrera to the Cincinnati Reds last month to acquire outfielder Jay Bruce. Walker has been a defensive upgrade to Murphy, but he is also a switch-hitter which increases his value. And after allowing Murphy to leave town last year, the Mets are going to have to really overpay to keep Walker in Queens.
Alderson will have some decisions to make as Cespedes has the option to opt out of his deal with the Mets during the off-season and it could come down to the Mets re-signing him, or Walker.
And although that winning the National League East here in 2016 is a bit far-fetched for the Mets as they are stuck in third place of the division with a record 60-61 which finds them 11.5 games behind the Nats, they are 4.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild card spot in the N.L. If the Mets find a way to get back on track and sneak into the postseason, Walker will more than likely have a hand it, which will undoubtedly force the hand of the Mets who will have no choice but to pay him. Walker could then thank Murphy for the money that he would receive as he would be getting paid off of what the Nationals current second baseman did last October, and what he is doing now in D.C.
The New York Mets came out of nowhere in 2015 to win their first National League Pennant since 2000. And although that the Mets fell short of winning the World Series, the expectations for them were still high when the 2016 Major League Baseball season began. But all season long the Mets have been an up and down team which started when they began the year with a record of 2-5. The Mets have not been under .500 since April 17, but each time that they appear ready to take that next step, they have come crashing back down the earth.
Three times this year the Mets have had the opportunity to go 10 games above .500, only to lose on each occasion. The most recent opportunity for the Mets to go 10 games above .500 came this Friday night when they lost to the Washington Nationals 3-1 which was the prelude to them losing three straight games in the series and falling six games out of first place in the National League East. The Mets have series victories over the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, the San Francisco Giants, and the Chicago Cubs. But the Mets are 7-6 against the lowly Atlanta Braves while also being swept by the Colorado Rockies who themselves are eight games under .500. And after being swept last month at the hands of the Nationals, the Mets appeared to be heading into a tailspin until they righted the ship last weekend in sweeping the Cubs in a four-game series.
However the Mets lost three of four games this weekend at home to the Nats and as they are now trailing Washington by six games for first place in the National League East heading into the All-Star break, they are also tied with the Miami Marlins for the final wild card spot.
The strength of the Mets success is their pitching staff which is what propelled them to the National League Pennant last year. But it hasn’t been all systems go for the Mets pitching staff here in 2016. Starting pitcher Matt Harvey was the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2015 as he posted a 13-8 record with a 2.71 earned run average after he had missed the entire 2014 Major League Baseball season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Harvey hasn’t been right all year as he has attempted to pitch through pain and criticism. Harvey’s record in 2016 is 4-10 with an earned run average of 4.86. Harvey’s season came to a screeching halt last week when he opted to have surgery on his shoulder after he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. Starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are each dealing with bone spur issues in the elbow, while Syndergaard won’t appear in this week’s All-Star Game after he was removed in the fifth inning this past Friday night with what the Mets are diagnosing as “arm fatigue”. And those golden arms that the folks in the Big Apple were drooling about in spring training are now spending more time in the infirmary than they are on the mound which is crippling the Mets chances.
And just like year, the Mets offense is still anemic. The Mets are second in the National League in home runs with 122, but most of those have been of the solo variety as they are 13th in runs scored with 335 which includes them scoring two runs or less on 34 occasions this season. The Mets have been without the services of their third baseman and captain David Wright for the majority of 2016 as he has a herniated disc in his neck which will sideline him for the rest of the season. First baseman Lucas Duda is still sidelined with a back injury which has kept him out of action since May 20, while outfielder Juan Lagares recently returned to the roster after suffering a thumb injury. The Mets have talent in their lineup with the likes of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but they’ve been unable to consistently put it together as a team as it has either been outhouse or penthouse with this offense. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has done several things to shake up the offense which has seen him demoting outfielder Michael Conforto to the minors, and signing infielder Jose Reyes. But just like this time last year, the Mets have been consistently inconsistent, while the Nationals are not the same team that they were at this point in 2015, and the same can be said about the Marlins.
The Mets are far from being dead in the water as they are right there in playoff contention and alot can happen between now and the end of the season which is still two and a half months away, but they must find a way to put it altogether. I do foresee Alderson making more moves between now and the trade deadline as there will soon be some teams that’ll wave the white flag and become sellers which will help a New York team that can use another starting pitcher.
However the All-Star break came at the right time for the Mets as players such as Cespedes and outfielder Curtis Granderson who are attempting to gut it out through nagging injuries need to rest for a few days. And being that Cespedes has the option to opt out of his current contract with the Mets after this season, I do see him getting on another vintage tear at the plate like we witnessed during his two months in New York last year.
The Mets will begin the second half of the season with a nine-game road trip against the Philadelphia Phillies, Cubs, and Marlins. But it really won’t matter who the Mets will face as they can be their own worst enemy at times if they are not hitting. So far we’ve seen plenty of Dr. Jekyll from the Mets, but at some point Mr. Hyde needs to consistently reappear in Flushing in order for this team to get back to the postseason.
The New York Mets entered the 2016 Major League Baseball season with high expectations after winning the National League Pennant last year. After a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on May 30, the Mets found themselves with a record of 29-21. But since then the Mets are 2-5 and they’ve also been dealing with a glut of injuries. In the past two weeks the Mets have seen third baseman David Wright and first baseman Lucas Duda sent to disabled list with injuries that are going to see them each miss a significant amount of time. Wright has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck, while Duda is dealing with a stress fracture in his back. This past weekend saw outfielder Yoenis Cespedes scratched from the Mets lineup due to an issue with his hip, while outfielder Juan Lagares suffered a partially torn thumb ligament while making a diving catch against the Miami Marlins. And once you factor in that catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been on the disabled list since April 25 with a shoulder injury, the Mets are now down four starters from their opening day roster.
The Mets offense has been painful to watch as they’ve only managed to muster 3 runs in their last three games which has seen them fall in the standings. The Mets are now 3.5 games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East, while they have a 0.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the final wild card berth in the NL.
The Mets have one of the top pitching staffs in baseball as their team earned run average of 3.15 is second in the National League entering play today. But you cannot expect the pitching staff which is loaded with studs to constantly put up dominant outings without giving them some run support.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson now finds himself in a very tough spot as he needs to make some moves to improve his team’s offense, but we’re at a point in the season where teams aren’t willing to wave the white just yet. And as they know that the Mets are desperate for a bat or two, their asking price is going to be astronomical.
Today the Mets were able to acquire utility man Kelly Johnson from the Atlanta Braves. The Mets had previously acquired Johnson from the Braves last summer, and he was used as a bench player for them during the stretch run. But Johnson’s return to the Mets is only going to serve merely as being another body in the lineup as he is not the difference maker that they could use.
There are some teams that already appear to be out of contention such as the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, and Braves who have players that the Mets could use, but Alderson is attempting to hold off of on making a mega deal for now. Padres outfielder Jon Jay has picked the right time to have the best offensive season of his career as he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this winter. And even though that the Padres are in last place in the National League West, I doubt that they’ll pull the trigger on a deal now as they will more than likely want Jay to represent them in the All-Star Game next month since it will be held in San Diego. The Reds have a first baseman that the Mets can use in Joey Votto. But Votto is in the midst of his worst Major League Baseball season, while he is still owed nearly $175 million on his contract which runs through 2024. The Braves also have a first baseman that the Mets could use in Freddie Freeman. However I don’t see the Braves making a move that would keep Freeman in the NL East.
Now we get a chance to watch baseball’s version of high stakes poker as teams are attempting to call Alderson’s bluff. When healthy Alderson knows that the Mets are a World Series contender. But even if the Mets are able to make it back to the postseason, it won’t be easy since the National League has greatly improved from last year. In the NL East alone, the Nationals have found new life under manager Dusty Baker and they don’t appear to be the pushovers that they were last year. Wright and Duda aren’t coming back anytime soon, and although that Cespedes can carry a lineup, he only gets four at-bats per game, while he is also currently attempting to fight through an injury. Alderson cannot simply wait around for guys to get healthy as the small holes that are currently in the Mets dam are not going to stay like that for long if they aren’t properly addressed. And a season that began with so much promise for the Mets could get away from them in a New York minute if they don’t take care of their business.
For the New York Mets, the sting is still there from falling three games short of winning the World Series, and they can take tremendous solace in knowing that they were able to make huge strides this year. But the last thing that the Mets want to do in 2016 is to take steps backwards. After winning 79 games in 2014, and failing to record a winning season since 2008, things began to come together for the Mets in 2015 as they won 90 games in the regular season for their first National League East Title since 2006. The Mets would get past the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in the playoffs en route to winning the NL Pennant, but the Kansas City Royals proved to be too much for them in the World Series.
Since taking over as Mets general manager in 2010, Sandy Alderson has gone about reshaping the team for the previously financially strapped team owner Fred Wilpon. The past few years have seen the Mets have one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball while attempting to develop their young talent which came to fruition in 2015. The Mets rode their blend of youth and veterans this year to a run that ended on the first day of November. And after captivating their fan base with their magical run, the last thing that the Mets can do is go back to being a mediocre franchise which means that Alderson has some work ahead of him going into the winter.
Already the Mets have roughly $60 million committed to their payroll for next season. That number will definitely increase with several key players led by starting pitcher Matt Harvey up for arbitration over the winter. But the Mets will be faced with several key roster decisions to make as well.
The Mets failed to reach an agreement with second baseman Daniel Murphy last off-season and if they want to retain his services now, it will cost them dearly. During the regular season Murphy batted .281 with a career-high in home runs (14), to go along with 73 runs batted in. But in the postseason, Murphy became a household name as he batted .328 with 7 home runs and 11 runs batted in including setting a postseason record by hitting a home run in six consecutive games. And because of Murphy’s postseason run, along with his leadership and the affection that the fans in New York City have for him, the Mets cannot afford to have him leave town this winter as a free agent. You can expect the Mets to give Murphy a qualifying offer, but they need to make every effort possible to keep him in Queens.
This year the Mets became the first team in Major League Baseball history to be last in runs scored prior to July 31, and still qualify for the playoffs. July 31 is an important date on the MLB calendar as it marks the non-waiver trade deadline, and for the Mets they made a splash on that day this year when they acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. In just 57 games with the Mets, Cespedes batted .287 with 17 home runs and 44 runs batted in. Cespedes’ time with the Mets saw him provide the team with something that they’ve lacked for some time which is a proven cleanup hitter. Cespedes was unable to have the same success in the postseason as a shoulder injury limited him at the plate, but he didn’t endear himself to the Mets and their fans either with his lackluster defense during the World Series which played a part in New York’s series loss to the Royals. Cespedes is 30-years of age and he is expected to command a hefty salary this winter and it will be interesting to see how far the Mets are willing to go to in order to keep him. Throughout Alderson’s time as a general manager, he hasn’t been a fan of giving players 30-years of age or older long-term deals and whomever were to give Cespedes a big contract would more than likely be in the “win now” mode while they would be willing to eat dead money at the end of the deal. And I’m not sure if the Mets and Alderson would be willing to push that envelope.
If the Mets allow Cespedes to walk, they could be willing to give outfielder Michael Conforto a chance to be their everyday left fielder. Conforto was the Mets first-round selection in 2014 and he made his Major League Baseball debut this past July. In 56 games with the Mets, Conforto batted .270 with 9 home runs and 26 runs batted in and at the age of 22, New York likes his potential. But it would just be interesting to see if the Mets would be willing to make him an everyday starter being that they have a team that is now a contender.
Spinal stenosis limited Mets third baseman David Wright to just 38 games in 2015, but he was able to play in every postseason game this year. Wright is 32-years of age and his bothersome back is not going to get that much better which is something that the Mets need to keep a keen eye on. Wright is in a position where he is constantly rehabbing in order to get ready to play everyday and heading into 2016, the Mets must work on their infield depth as he will need his fair share of games off; especially when day games follow a night affair.
The Mets are still also facing a conundrum at shortstop with Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores. Tejada has a solid glove but he is not a good hitter, while Flores is a solid hitter, but his defense is shaky. If you put Tejada and Flores together, you get a good shortstop, but the problem is that only one player can be on the field at a time.
The Mets appear to have their starting rotation going forward with Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler, but you can never have enough pitching. Syndergaard and Matz have yet to pitch a full season in Major League Baseball while Wheeler is on his way back from having Tommy John surgery. Wheeler is expected to miss the beginning of 2016 which means that it wouldn’t hurt the Mets to ponder re-signing starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. Colon went 14-13 for the Mets last season with an earned run average of 4.16 and at the age of 42, he has a rubber arm. The Mets used Colon out of the bullpen during their postseason run and he is a guy that was valuable, but there will be a market for him. Along with Colon, the Mets have another veteran starting pitcher in Jon Niese. In eight years with the Mets, Niese is 61-61 with an earned run average of 3.91. Like Colon, the Mets used Niese solely out of the bullpen during the postseason, but he is a player that could go back to being a starter. Conventional wisdom would say that the Mets could trade Niese this winter in exchange for a bat or prospects, but he still has value for them due to the fact that the team still needs to have some insurance behind their young pitchers.
Going forward the Mets feel that they have their closer in Jeurys Familia. Familia saved 43 runs for the Mets during the regular season after being thrust into the role at the last minute and he was unhittable against the Dodgers and Cubs in the playoffs until the Royals lit him up to the tune of a pair of blown saves in the World Series. The main thing that the Mets need in their bullpen for 2016 is a bridge between their starters and Familia. During the season the Mets acquired relief pitcher Tyler Clippard from the Oakland Athletics and Addison Reed from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mets manager Terry Collins would regularly give Reed the seventh inning, and Clippard the eighth in order to hand to ball to Familia in the ninth. In 17 appearances with the Mets, Reed had a 1.17 earned run average and being that he is not set to be an unrestricted free agent, I see him sticking around in New York as potentially being the eighth inning setup man for Familia. Clippard on the other hand is set to become a free agent and being that he’ll more than likely once again look to be a closer, he won’t be returning to Queens in 2016.
The Mets gave Collins a two-year extension last week as they feel that he has what it takes to get this club to a championship. Collins has been the Mets manager since 2011, and he has had a history of making some questionable moves. But in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Collins was able to hit all of the right buttons until he rolled snake eyes against the Royals.
The Mets have a team that is set to contend for the next few years, but the time is right now for them to win due to the fact that you can’t take anything for granted as far as simply getting back to the World Series. The Washington Nationals have a new manager in Dusty Baker who is looking to restore order in D.C. as most of the Mets success in 2015 in the National League East came at their expense. The St. Louis Cardinals are always in contention in the NL and we’re heading into an even numbered year which means that it will be about time for the San Francisco Giants to make another World Series run. Like the Mets, the Cubs are a young and upcoming team that is a contender while the Dodgers could attempt to keep themselves in contention by opening up the vault. The Mets have proven that they can contend with the best that the NL has to offer, but it won’t be easy for them as far as defending their position as NL Champions which puts the onus on Alderson this winter to keep his squad at the top of the Senior Circuit.
In 2006, the New York Mets were the talk of the baseball world. The Mets went 97-65 which was the best record in the National League and they had a solid core of players that was led by shortstop Jose Reyes, third baseman David Wright, and outfielder Carlos Beltran that appeared ready to take the Big Apple by storm. But in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, Beltran struck out looking with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2007, the Mets would blow a seven-game division lead with 17 games remaining in the regular season as they watched the Philadelphia Phillies win the NL East. In 2008, the Mets would enter the month of September with a three-game lead over the Phillies for the top spot in the NL East. But once again the Phillies would catch the Mets, and when the season ended, it was Philadelphia that was crowned as World Series Champions. This would also mark the second consecutive year in which the Mets missed the playoffs by one game.
The wheels began to fall off for the Mets in 2009 as injuries severely depleted their roster and they finished with a record of 70-92. Around this time, the Mets team finances were put in dire straits when it was revealed that team owner Fred Wilpon was a victim of Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme. And because of this there was a possibility that Wilpon would be forced to sell the Mets, but he stuck around which hurt the team as they had to dump payroll as they would become one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball.
In 2010, Wilpon sought out the help from his friend in Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig who would recommend Sandy Alderson to be the Mets new general manager. At the time Alderson was working in the MLB offices, but he had previous experience as a general manager as he had led the Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres to the playoffs.
And when Alderson arrived in Queens, he preached patience as this was not going to be a quick fix as far as the Mets being able to contend. Prior to the start of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, Alderson would name Terry Collins as the Mets manager. And in each of their first four seasons together, the Mets never posted a winning record, but they were getting younger while putting an emphasis on developing their talent in the minor leagues.
Heading into 2015, the Mets would have been happy to just finish with a winning record for the first time since 2008 as it would have been seen as a building block for this organization. But things changed for the Mets when they began the season by coming out of the chute like gangbusters as they reeled off 11 consecutive victories in the month of April. The Mets would start with a record of 13-3 and in the media capital of the world that is New York City, people were beginning to once again talk about the Mets.
Solid starting pitching would keep the Mets afloat, but their offense would consistently struggle which was highlighted by them losing four games by the score of 1-0 as they were simply frustrating to watch. In mid-June, the Mets would fall under .500 as they lost seven consecutive games, but they would rebound to be 47-42 at the All-Star break. Then on July 29, the Mets announced a trade that was going to send shortstop Wilmer Flores and starting pitcher Zack Wheeler to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Carlos Gomez. The trade was announced during the Mets game against the San Diego Padres, and it appeared to be a recipe for disaster as they allowed Flores to remain in the game after telling him the news. Flores couldn’t hold back the tears of disappointment while he was playing and it appeared to be another wrong turn for the Mets as they left the youngster naked to the world.
A few hours later, the Mets backed out of the deal with the Brewers as they were not satisfied with Gomez’s medical report and another chapter of ineptitude was written in franchise history.
But hope sprung eternal for the Mets as two days later, they would acquire outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. And the trade with the Tigers was made just prior to a huge weekend series for the Mets against the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals came to New York with a three-game lead over the Mets for first place in the National League East, but there was a buzz around Citi Field that hadn’t been there since the park opened in 2009 as the fans there were just waiting for something to explode about. The explosion came in the bottom of 12th inning when Flores broke a 1-1 tie with a walk-off home run to give the Mets the victory. The Mets would go on to sweep the Nats which created a tie atop the NL East and they were just getting started.
In the month of August, the Mets would go 19-8 to solidify themselves as the team to beat in the National League East while Cespedes was becoming a household name and in the process, making a ton of money for himself this off-season as he is set to enter free agency. In just 51 games with the Mets, Cespedes is batting .296 with 17 home runs and 44 runs batted in to actually garner some interest about being the NL MVP this year. Cespedes has put the Mets lineup on his back and in the process, he has become the most important player in team history since Mike Piazza. And when the Mets needed to put a stranglehold on the division lead, Cespedes was at the forefront.
On Labor Day, the Mets traveled to D.C. to meet the Nationals for a three-game series. New York was nursing a four-game lead, but they rallied to sweep the Nats and in the series, Cespedes hit a pair of home runs while also driving in 7 runs. The Mets never looked back and this past Saturday evening, they were able to wrap up their first National League East Championship since 2006.
It is has been a total team effort for the Mets as their aren’t any egos on this team which is a testament to the stoic demeanor of Alderson. Alderson built this team through a series of key trades while developing the Mets minor-league system. In 2011, Alderson traded Beltran to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Wheeler. At the time, Wheeler was a prospect in the Giants system, but they were forced to part with him as they were looking a quality bat in their pursuit to repeat as World Series Champions. That off-season, the Mets allowed Reyes to walk in free agency as they could not afford the six-year, $100 million contract that he received from the Miami Marlins. After starting pitcher R.A. Dickey won the National League Cy Young Award in 2012, the Mets traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays who were desperate to improve their pitching staff. And in exchange for Dickey, the Mets would receive catcher Travis d’Arnaud and starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard who were prospects at the time which is exactly what Alderson wanted and it has come full circle this year.
The Mets drafted starting pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz, while along with Syndergaard and Wheeler who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, New York has their rotation for the next few years.
When the 2015 Major League Baseball season began, relief pitcher Jeurys Familia was supposed to be the setup man for relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia. But when Mejia tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, Familia stepped up for the Mets as he is third in the National League this season in saves with 42.
Last year the Mets signed outfielder Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million deal which at the time appeared to be a head scratcher. In 2014, Granderson batted a career-low .227 with the Mets as he was attempting to carry the Mets lineup. But Collins decided to shift Granderson to the leadoff position and along with more depth now in the Mets lineup, his numbers have improved as he is currently tied for the club lead in home runs with 25. Mets first baseman Lucas Duda had to earn his position as a fan favorite with the Mets. When Duda first broke in with the Mets in 2010, the team attempted to put him in right field as they were sold on Ike Davis being their everyday first baseman. But last year the Mets gave up on Davis and when they traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Duda became New York’s full-time first baseman. Duda has rewarded Alderson’s trust in him as he hit 30 home runs last year while he is tied with Granderson for the team lead in home runs this season with 25.
And for Wright and second baseman Daniel Murphy, they have seen the best of times and worst of times for the Mets. Wright became a New York heartthrob in the mid-2000’s for his boyish looks and his ability at the plate as he appeared to be the heir apparent to Piazza as far as being the face of the Mets franchise. Murphy debuted with the Mets in 2008, and together he and Wright have stuck it out in New York during the thin years. And with the Mets going back to the postseason next month, it will be extra sweet for Murphy and Wright as it was once expected for them to be a frequent October participant as they now see how difficult that it is for them to get back there.
Whereas there was a time when the Mets couldn’t find the money to get quality players to come to Queens, they are now lining up to come there as this is a team that is ready to contend and that players want to be a part of. And speaking of lining up, the Mets are now near capacity for every home game which is a far cry from a few years ago when they couldn’t give away tickets to fill the stadium. It’s true that if you build it, they will come and the Mets have a solid of blend of youngsters and veterans that are ready to take New York and Major League Baseball by storm. We’ve seen in the past how Shea Stadium would be rocking for playoff baseball, and now Citi Field will have its chance next week. From top to bottom, the Mets were an organization that people had forgotten about a few years ago. But now they are the talk of the town and who knows how far that this will be able to go next month.