Mets must shift attention to next season - Metro US

Mets must shift attention to next season

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The Mets’ massive amount of injuries caught up to them in their wild card loss to the Giants, as they were unable to plate even a single run against Madison Bumgarner. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism for next season.

“[The players are] hurting, but there’s no reason to be,” Terry Collins told reporters after the game. “I mean, they were written off so many times this summer and yet they kept fighting back. There’s only a few teams that could have come back under the circumstances we came back on, and I’m really proud of them.”

Now they’ll have to focus on getting healthy for next year, where there is still potential for another playoff run.

The first order of business would be re-signing Yoenis Cespedes should he opt out of his current contract. He would be due $23.5 million each of the next two years, but has demonstrated himself to be worth considerably more than that on the open market. Cespedes showed his loyalty last offseason; hopefully for the Mets he’ll do it again this time around.

Neil Walker has enjoyed playing in New York, but could seek a lucrative contract somewhere else. Alejandro De Aza, Kelly Johnson and James Loney are all free agents now, as are pitchers Bartolo Colon, Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas. Jonathon Niese is almost sure to have his option declined, which would render him a free agent as well. With the exception of Colon, the Mets may move on from this group of players, unless they’re willing to take pay cuts to be role players.

If the Mets can stay healthy, De Aza would be the sixth outfielder behind Cespedes (potentially), Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo. As for Johnson and Loney, T.J. Rivera may offer a more affordable solution in the infield as a part-timer behind Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lucas Duda and potentially Walker. David Wright can’t be counted on to stay healthy anymore, but he seeks to start at third base on Opening Day 2017.

Just like this year, the Mets will have a strong cast of young starters in 2017 led by Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, with Zack Wheeler on his way back from Tommy John surgery. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman showed they were more-than-capable starters, but may begin 2017 in the minors or the bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, Hansel Robles, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia will be there to anchor the final three innings when available, but there are several open spots behind them. Wheeler and Colon could both potentially fill in, but perhaps the Mets will splurge on a proven commodity like Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon, both of whom are free agents this year. A short-term reunion with Joe Smith or Francisco Rodriguez would not be a bad idea either.

Sandy Alderson has put together a playoff club for two years running, so Mets fans should have faith that he can make it three straight years by making the right moves this offseason.

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