As spring training approaches, it signifies the winding down of the New York Mets' offseason. When you look at the Mets' current roster and offseason moves made up to this point, you can point out some areas that need improvement. Their starting pitching staff is a huge question mark, filled with one-year contracts and subpar resumes. The starting lineup won't look that different from last season, with head-scratching DH options, and up until this point, they haven't added big-time bats to complement players like Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor.
There is still time to address these glaring issues, but most Mets fans aren't holding their breath. However, there is one area of this team that fans should be talking about more in a positive light and something they can get excited about.
Defensively, the Mets look like they can be a juggernaut
Yes, defense is still an essential part of the game. I understand that most fans want to see power bats added and more runs being scored, and to an extent, I agree with that statement. Still, moves have been made that have, at least on paper, made our defense significantly better.
Veteran outfielder Harrison Bader is known as one of the best center fielders in baseball, and signing him on a one-year, $10.5 million dollar contract is a plus contract, in my opinion. The 2021 Gold Glove winner has a plus arm, speed, and incredible range in centerfield. According to baseball savant, Bader has a range (OAA) of 96 and an arm strength of 90. With the addition of Bader, Brandon Nimmo can move over to left, which makes an outfield of Nimmo, Bader, and Marte pretty solid.
Swiss army knife Joey Wendle was signed to a one-year knife, $2 million dollar contract as he steps into a utility-type million-dollar one-year knife role. He can be put in the field in the late innings at third base for Brett Baty and can even play second if needed. He has always had a great glove, as most Mets fans know from his time with the Miami Marlins and his prime years in Tampa Bay with the Rays.
President of Baseball Operations David Stearns values defense. In 2023, the Mets finished a -15 outs above average, ranked 23rd in baseball, and ranked 27th in defensive runs above average, according to FanGraphs. Even minor league acquisitions like Jose Iglesias and 2019 Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez were added if defensive depth was needed. The Mets starting pitching will be mostly pitching to contact, and with that, you need sound defense, and it looks like Stearns has addressed that area of the team.