The New York Mets are entering this offseason with a lot of holes on the roster. General manager Sandy Alderson will be working hard this winter to fill the needs this team currently has, which include the outfield and bullpen.
Even though it appears that 2013 will be another difficult season for the Mets, there are a couple of strong points already on the team that will be used as building blocks for next season and beyond.
The New York Mets have an established foundation in starting pitching. This is by far the strongest unit on the team.
The starting rotation has been relied upon heavily the last couple of seasons; look for that to stay the same heading into 2013.
Leading the way right now is Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey, who has been the midst of trade talk (h/t New York Post) by the team. The Mets have already picked up the 2013 option on the 38-year-old knuckleballer and are trying to work out a new contract.
Whether a new deal gets worked out or not, if Dickey is still with the Mets entering the 2013 season, he is the unquestioned No. 1 starter.
If Dickey does get dealt though, the Mets have plenty of options behind him that still make this unit the strongest on the team.
Johan Santana pitched very well for the first couple months of the 2012 season after shoulder surgery prevented him from making an appearance in 2011. Santana struggled as summer approached and a back injury shut him down for the season in August.
Look for him to come back stronger in 2013.
Behind Santana is Jon Niese, who has become a solid major league pitcher. Niese has had highs and lows in his young career, but in 2012 he churned out a 13-9 record with a 3.40 ERA in 190.1 innings.
Matt Harvey proved that he was ready for the big leagues after his call-up in late July. The young power pitcher showed a lot of promise in 10 starts and he, along with Zack Wheeler, is the future for the Mets rotation.
Factor in a guy like Dillon Gee, who was having a strong season before health concerns shut him down, and it's easy to see why starting pitching is such a strong point on this team.
The Mets lineup would be a mess right now if the season were to start tomorrow, but they do have two players that most teams would love to have in David Wright at third base and Ike Davis at first base.
In a lineup that lacks a lot of things, the two corner infielders provide power and are the main run producers the team has.
Like Dickey, David Wright had his 2013 option picked up by the Mets and is also being talked about in trade rumors. The Mets are trying to lock up Wright to a long-term deal, and trading him is not a decision the team wants to make.
Wright is the best player on the team and one of the best third basemen in baseball. He brings stability and credibility to a lackluster lineup. He would be vital to any major league team, which makes him even more valuable to the Mets.
Ike Davis struggled mightily at the beginning of 2012 but came on strong to finish with 32 home runs and 90 runs batted in. He is the power source for the Mets.
After he was speculated about in trade rumors (h/t New York Post), Davis is one of the few players certain to be on the 2013 Opening Day roster for the Mets. He will be relied upon heavily to continue to drive in runs in a lineup that struggles to score.
While some may not agree, Mets manager Terry Collins has been one of the few bright spots and better acquisitions New York has made in the past few seasons.
Collins has done the job he has been asked to do and that is manage the Mets. It is not his fault he has been given a roster severely lacking talent the past two seasons.
If anything, he has been a calming influence on this team, while still holding players accountable. He has changed his brash ways from his days in Houston and Anaheim and has become an engaging, up-front kind of guy.
Given everything the Mets are dealing with, Collins has been admirable and has handled himself with great poise and displayed great charisma.
Even though he gets a pass now, that will not last long in New York—and if Collins wants to keep his job past 2013, he will have to get the Mets back on the winning track.
Looking at everything the Mets are up against, that will be a tall order to fill.