Monday, September 30, 2013
Player-by-player predictions for 2014
By Adam Rubin
NEW YORK -- Here is a player-by-player primer on each Met, broken down by contract status:
• LaTroy Hawkins, right-handed reliever. Hawkins appears the most likely to be re-signed, even though he will be 41 years old next season. He was productive stepping into the closer’s role after Bobby Parnell's injury, while dialing his fastball up to 95 mph.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang, right-handed starters. Terry Collins liked Dice-K, so perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility to re-sign him as a fifth-starter competitor who would allow Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season in the minors. For that matter, Harang fits that profile, too.
• Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano, left-handed relievers. Both returned from shoulder injuries after missing substantial time. It likely is time for the Mets to move on from both, but their careers do not appear over yet.
• David Aardsma, right-handed reliever. Productive, although he wilted with too much use. Aardsma could be useful to re-sign if the price is right.
• Frank Francisco, right-handed reliever. The ex-closer collected $6.5 million this season while mostly nursing a sore elbow and irking Mets officials. No chance he returns.
• Johan Santana, left-handed starter. The one-time ace wants to pitch again after undergoing a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If he is capable, he very likely would sign elsewhere. The best news: Santana's $31 million owed in 2013, including a buyout of next season, comes off the books.
Signed to contracts
• Jonathon Niese, left-handed starter. After missing nearly two months with a rotator cuff strain, Niese finished strongly and should help anchor the 2014 rotation. His salary jumps to $5 million next season, up from $3 million this year.
• David Wright, third baseman. The captain sees a major salary bump. Wright will earn $20 million in 2014 -- a raise of $9 million.
• Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, first basemen. It is likely one gets traded, although there is a slim chance Duda opens the season at Triple-A with Davis at Citi Field. Davis made $3.125 million this year and could receive an ever-so-slight pay cut. The Mets insist he will not be non-tendered. Duda, first-time eligible for arbitration, likely only makes $700,000 or $800,000 in 2014.
• Parnell, closer. Doctors assure Collins that Parnell will be fine for spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but the manager is concerned. Vic Black would be the alternative. Parnell’s salary should creep upward after he earned $1.7 million while converting 22 of 26 save chances.
• Dillon Gee, right-handed starter. Gee missed 200 innings by one frame. He will be first-time eligible for arbitration.
• Daniel Murphy, second baseman. ESPNNewYork.com hears the Mets will listen on offers for Murphy, but the best bet is he is the Opening Day second baseman. Murphy is due to get another raise after earning $2.925 million this season.
• Ruben Tejada, shortstop. After the broken leg mends, Tejada needs to seriously demonstrate his work ethic to the organization. Still, that may not be enough if the Mets can find the right external shortstop addition.
• Justin Turner, infielder. The best bet is that he serves as a backup infielder again next season.
• Eric Young Jr., outfielder/second baseman. The Mets recognize they need his speed in the lineup. So Young should be in the starting lineup somewhere next season, whether that’s in the outfield or at second base.
• Scott Atchison, right-handed reliever. Believe it or not, while Atchison is 37 years old, he does not have enough MLB service time to be eligible for free agency. He is a definite non-tender candidate in December.
• Mike Baxter, outfielder. Baxter should be arbitration eligible as a Super 2. Regardless, his 40-man roster spot appears in jeopardy. That does not preclude Baxter from being re-signed to a minor league deal. The 2013 Baxter, who hit .189, did not resemble the 2012 Baxter. The Mets believe the shoulder injury suffered in Santana's no-hitter may have hurt Baxter's swing.
• Omar Quintanilla, shortstop. The Mets view Q as a backup, not a full-time player.
• Matt Harvey, right-handed starter. The question remains: Tommy John surgery or no Tommy John surgery? Harvey should be airing it out in about six weeks, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League, to see whether the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will hold up.
• Zack Wheeler, right-handed starter. Wheeler should be good for 200 innings in 2014.
• Black, right-handed reliever. If Parnell is not ready to close because of a slow recovery from surgery, the hard-throwing Black is the primary alternative. Otherwise, Black projects as handling the eighth inning next season.
• Travis d’Arnaud, catcher. He’s the guy behind the plate, but needs to shorten his swing after hitting .202 in his first major league season.
• Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, center fielders. Lagares had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists and is very likely the full-time center fielder in 2014, even with some offensive difficulties. Den Dekker is just as likely to open next season in Triple-A. The Mets do not plan to platoon Lagares and den Dekker in the majors -- not in April, anyway.
• Josh Edgin and Scott Rice, left-handed relievers. Both are coming off surgeries. The Mets need to find a lefty from outside the organization they can trust, but Rice and Edgin could be useful complements.
• Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen, right-handed relievers. Both should vie for a bullpen role in 2014.
• Jeremy Hefner, right-handed starter. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
• Anthony Recker, catcher. After a nearly full season in the majors, Recker could find himself in Triple-A in 2014. Sandy Alderson has suggested he needs to find a veteran catcher in case d’Arnaud’s injury propensity continues.
• Josh Satin, infielder. A year after being taken off the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, Satin is now viewed as a valuable righty bat for the bench who can get on base. Look for him to have a backup role in 2014.
• Carlos Torres, right-handed starter/reliever. Torres would appear to have a legitimate shot as the long reliever/spot starter.
• Jordany Valdespin, infielder. The Biogenesis suspension is his latest baggage. It would be surprising if he makes it to spring training as a Met.
• Greg Burke, Robert Carson and Sean Henn, relievers. If they survive the winter on the 40-man roster, they look Triple-A bound.
• Andrew Brown, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Zach Lutz and Wilfredo Tovar, 51s. Centeno and Recker could be the Triple-A catchers. Flores likely is ticketed for Las Vegas, according to Collins, if the infielder is not going to be a starter at the major league level. Lutz and Tovar probably open next season in the minors, too. Brown’s 40-man roster spot is an open question.
• Jenrry Mejia, right-handed starter. Mejia showed flashes as a starting pitcher before surgery to clean out his right elbow. He is a logical fifth-starter competitor in spring training.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis, outfielder. Getting snubbed for a September call-up does not bode well for Nieuwenhuis’ future with the organization.