The New York Mets got themselves into a big mess about five years ago with a handful of lucrative contracts. The organization is still feeling the effects of those ill-fated signings, but they do appear to have a strong plan for the future.
While the Mets are still at least another year away from really competing in the NL East, they do have a couple of solid pieces that will help them win some games. They are certainly more talented than the Marlins, and while they don't have the horses to keep up with Atlanta and Washington, they could challenge the Phillies for third place if a few things go right.
Projected Lineup, courtesy of MLB Depth Charts.
Compared to 2012, there really isn't a ton of turnover with the roster. The biggest absence is that of Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who was dealt to Toronto earlier in the offseason for Buck, Travis d'Arnaud and a handful of prospects.
Marcum signed a one-year deal for $4 million guaranteed and another $4 million in incentives, which I really liked for them. Jason Bay was mercifully released.
Oh, and Wright will earn nearly $140 million from now until 2020.
The Mets could have one big move up their sleeve with Spring Training right around the corner. Michael Bourn, who is still without a job, is drawing serious interest from the club. The addition of Bourn at the top of the lineup would go a long way for manager Terry Collins.
There could be two roadblocks to getting a deal done. Bourn is reportedly still asking for five years, while the Mets would prefer a three-year deal. The front office is also concerned with losing their first round pick, which is unprotected at No. 11. If they signed Bourn, they would forfeit the pick and give the Braves a supplemental selection likely in the 30-40 range.
The Mets are headed in the right direction. They're just about clear of the albatross contracts, and their farm system ranks as the best in the NL East right now -- even if that isn't saying much. The addition of Bourn would be really big for the lineup, and as long as the bullpen isn't a total mess (again), they could win 80 games this season.
This is the first installment in a look around the NL East. Check back for breakdowns and previews of the Marlins, Nationals and Phillies in the coming weeks.