Improving the offense is the Mets' number one offseason goal, and the improvements gained by adding a quality corner outfielder or shortstop can't be understated. These aren't the only areas the Mets should look or need to improve, however. There are other aspects to the Mets that helped contribute to their ultimate failure in 2014.
The back end of the lineup, specifically the pitcher's spot, was a historically horrible one. You may remember that the Mets pitchers set a major league record for ineptitude by starting the season with an 0-or-64 streak at the plate before it was broken up by Jacob deGrom upon his first major league start.
Mets pitchers had the second-worst on-base percentage in the league, ahead of only the Brewers, and lest you think it got better after the terrible start, they were third-worst in the second half, passing only the Pirates. I'll give my full confession here: The 2014 Mets pitchers, particularly Bartolo Colon, pushed me fully into the camp that supports the designated hitter for the National League. That could happen for 2015, but it won't, which means that it's an area the Mets can, and must, improve upon. Even if you give some credit to Mets pitchers for turning the lineup over by being so bad that Ruben Tejada was tied for 10th in intentional walks despite playing in far fewer games than the guys ahead of him, Mets pitchers were pathetic with the bat.
Clearly you're not going to start pitchers for their hitting ability, but the Mets could take this part of the game seriously instead of laughing it off. Pitchers understandably can't devote the time and effort to hitting that position players do, but the ability to at least drive the fat fastballs down the middle goes a long way.They're paid to help the Mets win ballgames, and flailing limply at pitches doesn't help.
That leads us to another poor aspect of the Mets' game: pinch hitting. Even when pitchers were removed for pinch hitters, the results were not good. Mets hitters made 242 plate appearances as pinch hitters, and they had a whopping .544 OPS. They struck out 26 percent of the time.
There are a billion different options to fill out a major league bench, and having guys that you can lean on is something the Mets desperately need for next year. The Mets will probably need both someone that can fill in for David Wright so he doesn't break down and someone to play the other corner against tough lefties and relieve Lucas Duda. They also need bench guys that can come in and drive the ball. The Mets' bench was in the bottom half of the majors in extra base hits and only the Astros had a lower slugging percentage.
Obviously we all know the Mets' major problem in 2014 was offense and power, and these two examples are symptoms of that greater problem. The biggest improvement would come from signing another outfielder and finding a good shortstop, but having the pitchers take more batting practice and strengthening the bench could help, too.