Serious baseball fans, Rotisserie/Fantasy players, and people who play Strat-O-Matic (and I'm in categories one and three) all check out major league depth charts from time to time. Thankfully the internet is chock full of them. They number second only to - well I won't say it because it's the Christmas season and this is a family site.
You can find depth charts at MLB.com, ESPN, Rotoworld, and my personal go-to site, the one maintained by Jason Martinez at Baseball Prospectus.
All these sites are pretty accurate but they don't give you the real low-down on every team's situation. Certainly I couldn't do as well for most teams but can take a gallant swing at the Mets' depth chart. (I'll just work on the position players here since we know the attention span of you, the reader, and me, the writer, is short. Hence the existence of Twitter, but I digress).
Let's start with the easy one:
3B- At this position we have the Golden Boy, the team leader and face of the franchise, its captain and highest paid player, Mr. David Wright. When he is not injured he will be at 3B and will bat 3rd or 4th. Book it.
We have now completed the settled part of the on-the-field roster. Where most teams have about six or more positions settled the Amazins have just that one. Let's cut over to the other side of the infield and discuss....
1B- Ah yes. Land of many options and no good ones. I suppose the betting leaders at this point are for a platoon of Lucas Duda and Josh Satin. Duda looks the part of the studly powerful firstbaseman. He was about as miscast as a leftfielder last year as he would have been had he landed the role of Sandy in "GREASE". But whether he really is a major league caliber 1bman is still under dispute. His platoonmate in crime could be Josh Satin who might be more responsibly seen as the team's fulltime 1bman in the Quadruple A league if MLB ever decides to form a halfway house league between AAA and the majors.
But wait there's more. Technically, at least as of this writing, there is a guy named Ike Davis still on the roster. He can field the position and hit with prodigious power. The only problem is that he is allergic to the batter's box from April until about the All-Star break.
Then there's Wilmer Flores. He has played little firstbase during his career but what the hey, it's the Mets we're talking about and they're willing to play anyone just about anywhere, right? Young Wilmer is killing it in the Venezuelan winter league. Detailed Sabermetric studies indicate that when a player is great in that league the following year they may or may not do well in the majors. So there's that.
I could even mention Daniel Murphy here but I'll save him for 2B because if he remains a Met that's where he'll be.
A smattering of people want minor leaguer Allan Dykstra to be given a chance (thanks for the email to Randy and Cathy Dykstra, the parents).
Let's leave the morass that is firstbase and move a tick over to..
2B- What most teams look for here is a guy who can sparkle in the field and can contribute at the plate. And they're even willing to pay for that. What Daniel Murphy does is hit well for a secondbaseman and kind of gets the job done in the field. He tries hard and we all appreciate that. But the Mets with their budget restrictions have decided that they may not love him $5 million worth so why not ask other teams for their best prospect for him? How's that working out, Mr. GM? So right now - subject to change - it looks like Murph will be your 2bman unless it's...
Eric Young Jr. EY looks the part of a secondbaseman. He's speedy, shifty, and is a switch-hitter, admittedly one that does little from the more important side, the left one. We haven't seen enough of him at this position to know that he can't play it (after all Murphy hasn't set the bar real high in that department) but years of baseball watching tell me that if he were competent there he never would have been banished to the outfield.
And remember Wilmer Flores? Come on folks, it was just a couple of paragraphs ago. He's also in the mix for 2B. He probably can offer even more offensive firepower than EY but will not have to clear his mantle to make room for any future Gold Gloves.
And then there's that key infield position known as....
Shortstop- Will it be Ruben Tejada or somebody/anybody better? Could the team dig deep and pay big bucks to Stephen Drew? Don't ask me. I'm asking you. Or can Sandy Alderson pull off a trade and bring in one of the multiple Arizona shortstops or perhaps one from Seattle. For now we'll pencil in Tejada but let's not press hard on the pencil because methinks we'll be erasing what we've written fairly soon.
Before we visit the outfield let's decide who's behind the dish....
C- Right it's the catcher. In a perfect world, one where prospects actually pan out, the #1 catcher will be Travis d'Arnaud (boy, just caught myself almost capitalizing that first "D"). Zach Wheeler is confident that Travis will hit and that's good enough for me. Off of what we saw in 2013 I'm not sure everyone is sold.
Let's hope to the heavens that d'Arnaud is up to the job because after him there's a whole lot of nothing unless you're an Anthony Recker believer. Fortunately there are always a dozen replacement-level catchers that a team can glom on to and if they'll work cheap then Alderson/Wilpon will be on them.
And now we trek out to free agent land, aka..
THE OUTFIELD - Ideally we would break this down to LF, CF, and RF but nothing associated with the Mets works ideally.
Curtis Granderson will be one of the outfielders. LF-maybe, RF-maybe CF-probably not.
Chris Young will be one of the outfielders and I'm figuring it's because they're paying him $7.25 million. Your guess is as good as mine as to which of the positions he'll man. He's a plus defender so he won't hurt you with the glove. Unfortunately he's not accomplished with the bat against righthanded pitching so doesn't figure to hurt the other team with the bat.
Juan Lagares figures to be playing CF, but will it be in NY or Las Vegas? His glove is major league ready but other than bunting well for base hits he hasn't shown much at the plate. If he can not get the job done with the stick then Eric Young Jr. will probably become a corner outfielder again while Chris Young (is this team ever Young at heart?) mans center.
And then I could mention fringe candidates like denDekker, Nieuwenheis, and Puello. But I won't.
So there's the depth chart. Are you bubbling over with confidence? I'm not either.
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at @dr4sight There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.