It's going to be a busy, argumentative and stressful offseason. I can see it coming a mile away. There is plenty of reason to be hopeful because of the young rotation. However, because of their injuries, and the team being home on Oct. 6, it feels like the Mets took a step in the wrong direction during 2016.
Therefore, there will be lots of pressure this winter (inside and outside the organization) to be sure they're in a much better position when they hit Port St. Lucie, Florida in four months.
This winter should be all about switching up a few position players. There will be an opportunity on the infield, maybe at first base, maybe at third base, maybe in center, maybe behind the plate. The goal better be to create a more balanced offense, one that doesn't live or die on the home run, but puts the ball in play...
In either case, the team's first order of business will be to figure out what to do with the following 10 players, all of whom have an up-in-the-air status...
Yoenis Cespedes: He will opt out of his contract when the World Series is over. It will likely cost at least $100 million to keep him. He and the Mets will negotiate, but I have no idea how this saga will end. In either case, like last winter, I bet he doesn't make a final decision until after the New Year.
Jay Bruce: I expect the Mets to pick up his $13 million option instead of letting him become a free agent. In the event Cespedes walks, they'll have Bruce and his potential for 30 home runs. They can also look to trade Bruce to a team in need of a calm, soft-spoken, left-handed power hitter, such as the Astros, A's or Royals, and improve the team in another area.
Neil Walker: The Mets will almost certainly extend him the one-year, $17 million qualifying offer, and then continue talking with him about a multi-year deal. The thing is, in a market short on offense and second basemen, given his track record, a team will offer Walker a three- or four-year deal. And, since the Mets have Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera and Jose Reyes capable of playing second base, I can't see Sandy Alderson giving him $36 million.
Bartolo Colon: The Mets have to (and will) try to re-sign him. He'll be 44 years old next season. So, I bet he can be had for another one-year deal, probably worth around $10 million. And, if it took a second-year guarantee or option to get it done, I think the Mets would do it.
Jose Reyes: The Mets have a team option that will pay Reyes the league minimum in 2017. The coaches and players like him, Alderson likes him, the owners like him, he did well, plays three infield position, he hits leadoff and will be a bargain at his price. He'll 100 percent be back. It's a no-brainer.
Lucas Duda: He is eligible for arbitration and will likely earn around $8 million next season. I expect the Mets to tender him a contract. There was a point this past summer when I thought they might cut him this fall, but I've changed my mind. I'm convinced he'll be back. He'll be a free agent after next season. So, whether they start him or trade him remains to be seen.
Jerry Blevins: He finally pitched a full season and did a really nice job. He'll be a free agent. He wants to be back, I'm told, and the Mets will try to keep him.
Jon Niese: The Mets can't wait to decline his $10 million team option for next season.
James Loney: He'll be a free agent. The Mets have options at first base, be it Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores, not to mention maybe Michael Conforto or David Wright. Loney helped solve a problem in 2016, but I can't see how he's back next season.
Kelly Johnson: He'll a free agent. He was their best pinch-hitter, he plays all four infield position, he enjoys being here, he's won here, and he's a leader. The Mets should re-sign him, if for no other reason than they won't have to give up another prospect to trade for him again next summer.