Mets Season Preview: What could’ve been done differently this offseason?
Mar 9, 2015; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets right fielderMichael Cuddyer
(23) at-bat against the Miami Marlins during the spring training baseball game at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Not signing Michael Cuddyer.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of Cuddyer, and I’m glad he’s a Met. I think he’ll be healthy(-ier than he has been in Colorado), and he provides a legitimate short-term bat in the middle of the lineup, as well as a very good platoon partner for Lucas Duda and/or Brandon Nimmo next year should Nimmo continue to struggle against left-handed pitching. Signing him was a win now move for a franchise that’s ready and a fan base that’s desperate to win now.
However, he cost the Mets a valuable first round draft pick. Under the Alderson administration, first round picks have generally been treated as gold, and the returns have generally been positive, as both Brandon Nimmo and 2014 pick Michael Conforto appear to be nearing the majors, and Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith both have fairly high ceilings they may yet reach. Even though now it’s looking like this year’s draft may be weak, with a rash of injuries in the collegiate ranks, the ability to add high potential at low cost is vital to the long-term success of baseball teams.
Ultimately, I trust Sandy Alderson’s decision to forfeit the first pick; his willingness to do so reflects a deep and healthy farm system that he has bolstered through the international markets as well, where they’ve done well to sign talents like Rafael Montero and potential uber-prospect Amed Rosario. I like the value Cuddyer brings, but the first round pick is perhaps the only distinct mis-step I can find.
The shortstop market was murky and presented no clear upgrades to Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada, the starting pitching depth is fantastic even after the loss of Zack Wheeler, and the bench looks strong. The Mets may have been able to cobble together an improved performance from a lower-cost platoon (think Kirk Nieuwenhuis and John Mayberry), but the Mets entered this offseason with only one obvious hole and Sandy did well to fill it.
Next: What Rich Sparago would've done differently