Between the constant shuffling of the lineup and the fact that the organization doesn't seem to know whether they are buyers or sellers, one has to wonder; does the Mets' front office have a plan?
While it is evident that Alderson has a pitching first approach, stockpiling young arms (Snydergaard, Wheeler, Montero, etc.), on the offensive side there seems to be little consistency in approach. However this lack of consistency is also there amongst Mets fans, as there is often a heavy debate over trading prospects to get a big bat (see the debate of trading for G. Stanton).
Any successful venture needs a well thought out strategy and and method of executing that strategy. Whether its win now or win later, the actions by the front office need to be consistent with that. Maybe the Mets truly thought Chris Young would have a resurgent year and R. Tejada would be a .300 hitter, with C. Grandy hitting 30+ HRs, but failing to sign Jose Abeu, Nelson Cruz, Ellsbury, Cano, Kazmir, etc. demonstrated a cautious approach, which had to make rational observer question Alderson's 90 win prediction at the beginning of the season. The concerning thing there is that either Alderson believed that, which makes his judgement suspect, or he didn't, which then leads us back to the question: what is the strategy for making this a successful organization.
The argument for winning now at the beginning of the season was not without its merits, and with the right free agent signings, that could have been a possibility. But we have to accept that the 2014 season is more than likely lost. When evaluating the team, the hope is in the young players and so building a team that can grow together is probably the best bet, but that does not mean waiting two years. The goal should be to win in 2015 and for years to come. That means the right trades and right 2015 FA signings. This is where the front office needs to have a strategy and needs to aggressively pursue that strategy.
There is no arguing that pitching is a strength. The rotation is solid (notwithstanding all of the injuries) and should be for years. The 2015 rotation could consist of any of the following: Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Gee, Colon, Snydergaard, Montero, De Gromm, Hefner, etc.
However, the questions are with the lineup.
C: D'arnaud has looked better since he returned from AAA and looks like he has a chance to live up to his potential as a solid offensive catcher. If D'arnaud falters again, Pawlecki looks solid and could be up to the bigs as early as Mid 2015. (Catcher is a strength for the Mets, with no urgent need to make a move, but could trade one if confident in the other)
1st: L. Duda has looked better this year with regular playing time and even sports a top 15 OPS. Duda clearly has some power, but the question is whether he will ever hit above .260 and/or does he have enough power to justify a low BA. Dom Smith could be the answer of the future, but at 19 he still has a long way to go to live up to the potential scouts see. While scout project power, he currently has 0 HRs in 300+ ABs in single A, so he is far from a lock. (1st base could be acceptable if strong elsewhere, but as the offense overall has struggled and upgrade is likely needed)
2nd: Murphy is a tough, hardworking player, who is top 15 in Average, Runs, RBI, HR, Steals, OPS, OBP, etc. He maybe lacking defensively, but you cannot discount the offense. Flores is killing AAA, and whatever position they want to play him at, he, like any other young player, needs consistent ABs. Dilson Herrera could be a better version of Murphy , but is at least a full year away. (2nd base, while not defensively strong, is an offensive strength, allowing the Mets trade options). **Note, i believe it would be stupid to trade away Murphy unless the value is right.
SS: Rather than going player by player, outside of Flores, who the team cannot likely deal with at SS, the Mets have no offensive short stop options, either in the Majors or in the minors. Rosario is too far away from the majors at this point. (SS is a significant weakness and an upgrade is definitely needed).
3rd: D. Wright may not have the power that he used to, but there is no question that he can still hit. Provided with some protection, he is an allstar caliber 3rd baseman capable of hitting 20+ HRs and should be for the next several years. Flores could play here if necessary, but with D. Wright entrenched, there is no need for that. (3rd base is a strength, but without depth there is nothing to trade, other than flores).
OF: Both Youngs are bench players at best. Kirk N. is a serviceable 4th OF, but few people would argue that he is a starter. Lagares seems to be developing his bat, and if he hits near .300 with decent speed, and his elite defense, his makes for a solid CF. Granderson certainly has shown that he can still hit for power. While he may decline with age, he provides a decent bat in the OF until a younger player can be developed. Nimmo may be that player, but likely won't be ready until 2016. (OF is a definite weakness, needing upgrade).
Based on this brief look at the team, the fact that 2014 is for all practical purposes lost, and the depth at pitching, Alderson needs to act to upgrade weaknesses, for both the long term and near future.
There are numerous ways to address these issues, and I am sure we all have our opinions, so I won't bore you with mine, but I think Theo Epstein has it right when he said: "If you look at the way the game is going, the batter/pitcher dynamic has shifted in recent years dramatically in favor of the pitcher," Epstein stated. "There are more effective pitchers out there than position players..."
So come on Alderson, get a SS and an OF that can hit.