The Mets may have taken a step backward by getting knocked out of the wild-card round this past season after making the World Series in 2015, but there aren’t too many areas of concern for the club going into next season. Still, there is still plenty of work to do for Sandy Alderson this offseason.
It all starts with trying to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes. The Cuban slugger put up great numbers in his first full season in Queens, hitting .280 with 31 homers and 86 RBI, all while battling a nagging quad injury. More importantly, the Mets were 72-54 when Cespedes started and 15-21 when he didn’t.
Furthermore, Cespedes’ right-handed power is crucial to the Mets. They’re loaded with lefties in the outfield (Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce) and the other right-handed power options on market aren’t as appealing as Cespedes. Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, and Mark Trumbo present problems from both age and defensive angles and will command just about as much money as Cespedes.
John Harper of the New York Daily News has predicted Cespedes would take a four-year deal at just over $100 million if Alderson doesn’t drag his feet like last offseason. Ownership should be willing to fork over that contract if they really want to bring a title to Queens in 2017.
If the Mets lose Cespedes to free agency, bringing aboard Dexter Fowler as a replacement makes some sense. The switch-hitter batted .293 against lefties last year and could give the Mets what they sorely lack; a legitimate base-stealing threat (he stole 33 combined in two seasons with the Cubs).
Additionally, Fowler’s got a good glove in center field; maybe not as good as Juan Lagares’, but Lagares showed last year he can adapt when healthy.
The Mets also need to shore up their bullpen in the offseason. Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins might be lured away by another club this winter, and Jeurys Familia could be subject to league discipline under the recently-implemented domestic violence policy.
Mark Melancon stands out as a marquee reliever that fits in the Mets’ clubhouse, but it remains to be seen if Melancon would be willing to cede his ninth-inning role for the majority of the season to join the Mets. Addison Reed has filled both the seventh-inning and eighth-inning roles as a Met, so he could move around to accommodate Melancon if need be.
Boone Logan could fill the shoes of Blevins if he walks away. Logan held opponents to a .166 batting average overall and lefties hit a paltry .142 against him, with many of those 66 appearances coming at hitter’s haven Coors Field. Alderson may be hesitant to give a 32-year-old a multi-year deal, but in a market led by Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, Alderson may not have to.