By: Noah Wright
The Mets are kind of at a crossroads when the upcoming off season hits: the team could either gun it for the playoffs, or blow it up. But looking at their current situation, I think its time to hit that rebuild button, and admit defeat for the next few years. However, The Mets don’t have that bad of pieces already, and they may go for it one more time, sort of like The Phillies tried back in 2014. So I want to go over both sides of the argument whether it’s time to tank, or they have one more run for it.
Go for it one last time:
It’s clear The Mets have the rotation to do it. DeGrom is all but confirmed to be The 2018 NL Cy Young award winner, and when Noah Syndergaard is fully, 100% healthy, he could also be Cy Young caliber. Zack Wheeler finally had a really good year, pitching to a 3.31 ERA, 3.25 FIP, and 1.124 WHIP, while walking a career low 2.7 per 9, and giving up only 14 home runs in 182 and a thirds innings. Then there’s Steven Matz, who we know he can be a solid left handed rotation option at times, but also an unreliable one with health and performance at other times. That’s already a solid 4, and they could either rely on Jason Vargas to bounce back from a horrid 2018, or sign someone like Anibal Sanchez or Trevor Cahill to a one or two year deal to fill that 5th spot. Another option for the 5th spot could be Seth Lugo, but with so little bullpen depth, they may just leave him there. There’s also some bright spots in the line-up. One of them is former top prospect Brandon Nimmo. After given a full workload in the grass, Nimmo gave the team a very nice looking .263/.404/.483 line with 17 home runs, 47 RBI’s, and 149 wRC+. While his defense in centerfield and right field weren’t super great, he did have positive numbers DRS wise in left field. Another potential bright spot could be Jay Bruce. Bruce did have a down season this year, but he was injured for part of the year, and he’s only going to be 32 next season, so it isn’t completely impossible for him to bounce back to the .260/.320/.500 hitter he was a few years ago. But with a crowded outfield, Bruce will probably see a lot more time at first base, which is ok since they don’t currently have a good answer over there. Michael Conforto could be another asset. His overall season may not have been great, but he’s only a year removed from when he hit .279/.384/.555, and he still did hit 28 home runs this year. Then if Amed Rosario starts performing like the prospect he looked like in the minors, add another solid middle infield piece, and then have a bullpen that can actually hold a lead, The Mets could be looking at a Wild Card Spot.
Time To Tank:
The Mets do not have a strong farm system. They don’t really have a guy that shouts “future star” except for maybe ̶T̶i̶m̶ ̶T̶e̶b̶o̶w̶ Peter Alonso. Starting a rebuild now could boost their farm system into the top 5 if they trade off stars like DeGrom, Syndergaard, and Conforto, since none of them are on outrageous contracts, and not free agents after 2018. DeGrom and Syndergaard should bring back multiple top 100 prospects, and Conforto should bring back at least one top 100 player. If they decide to rebuild now, and everything goes right, The Mets could be contending again in 2020 or 2021.
The Mets door is nearly closed. Tanking may be their best option, since it has more upsides than downsides. However there is a middle ground that they could go. The Mets could sign Anibal Sanchez or Trevor Cahill, like I stated earlier, to cheap short term deals, along with a middle infielder and some cheap bullpen help, and if they’re out of it by June-ish, the team could start trading off guys like Sanchez and Cahill, then shop off DeGrom and Syndergaard at the deadline. This choice may not push back their return to contention by a lot, but it would the best way they could do both.