Cuddyer: Mets Can Compete In NL East
By Ricky Keeler
Last season, the Washington Nationals were able to run away with the National League East, winning the division by 17 games over the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. It was a division that Washington led by only 4.5 games after the All-Star Break before the Nats went 45-24 in the second half of the season. Despite the improvements from a team like the Marlins, could the Nats run away with the East again with the addition of Max Scherzer to the rotation?
There’s one team in the division looking to improve from their 79-83 record and that is the New York Mets. The one significant move that the team from Queens has made this offseason so far is the two-year, $21 million deal they gave Rockies’ outfield Michael Cuddyer. On Thursday, Cuddyer had some interesting comments regarding the NL East preseason prognostications.
MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo wrote on Thursday about Cuddyer performing magic tricks for a group of students from PS 92 at Citi Field. During that performance, Cuddyer talked about how the Mets shouldn’t be counted out in that division despite Washington’s big free agent signing:
"Obviously, they’re going to have a great staff, there’s no question about it. They’ve got All-Stars on the staff. They’ve got ERA champions on the staff, strikeout champions on the staff. But at the same time, we’ve got guys that can compete with that as well. I think the ‘Baseball Almanac’ would be written a lot differently if you donned a champion in February every year.” (h/t MLB.com)While Cuddyer does make the Mets better in the outfield, New York is still lacking at the shortstop position. Matt Harvey returns to the rotation, which should be another arm added to a rotation that had a 3.66 ERA last season (14th in MLB)."
One of the problems for New York last year was their lack of success against the Nationals. Last season, Washington was 15-4 against the Mets. This included a 9-1 record at Citi Field.
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That being said, this is far from a guarantee from the 35-year-old outfielder. If anything, this just adds to the opening day series between New York and Washington that will likely feature Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Stephen Strasburg vs. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob DeGrom. By the way, in case you were wondering, Cuddyer is a .318 hitter at Nats’ Park in 22 at-bats with one home run and six RBI’s.
So, while the NL East isn’t decided in the offseason with big free agent signings, the other four teams have a lot to ground to make up on paper. However, that’s why they play the games.