We’ve dogged the Mets so much it even bores me. The team deserves every negative word written, but the Mets also deserve something more. And that’s some fresh ideas as to how they can climb out the mess they are in. With no pretensions as to having answers, here at least are a few ideas.
Every Mets fan in the world knows the real culprit within this organization is the ownership. But we’re not going there because that’s a dead end leading nowhere. Whatever is done to improve the Mets must be done by working around the Wilpons.
It’s the same as owning a beautiful home that is surrounded by filthy and boisterous neighbors. What does one do? We learn to adapt to our surroundings by building a fence, planting a few well-placed trees, and putting our picnic table on the side of our yard away from them. This doesn’t solve the problem, but it goes a long way to making life more manageable.
The other thing we are not going to do here is to campaign for trading Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard. Instead, we are going to trust the Mets will do precisely what they said they would do, which is to take calls on both. If the right deal comes along, so be it.
And besides, there may not be a need to get that drastic. Seth Lugo is quietly having an excellent season. He also earned his stripes in 2017, primarily as a starter. The Mets need to make a firm decision as to how he can best help the team. The notion that, for now, he is a starter with Syndergaard down is a band-aid approach all too common with the Mets.
Make a choice on Lugo, bullpen artist or starter and stick to it, filling in the blanks wherever he is not. Relief pitchers are a dime a dozen these days. And we are not talking about Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman. Steady hands who have been around (age doesn’t matter) are all that’s needed to fill various roles.
Some of the dead wood on the Mets need to walk the plank, but this is not a new matter. Jose Reyes has no business being on this Mets team, and if it’s a public relations thing, give him a day at the ballpark, say thank you and most of all, goodbye. Ditto for Juan Bautista, except he merely gets shown the door.
Asdrubal Cabrera needs to be subtracted as well if only to get something in return for him before he turns free agent at the end of this season.
Todd Frazier signed a two-year $17 million deal with the Mets during the past offseason. At the time, it looked like one of the best signings Sandy Alderson ever completed for the team. That was then, and this is now. Frazier, along with Jay Bruce, who still has decent upside despite the year he is having, are both respectable trade bait for teams in the hunt.
On the pitching side, up and down Zack Wheeler has run his course with the Mets, and in the right deal could be packaged with another player for a Triple-A level talent who can step into the Mets lineup today.
Now, with all this subtraction of players, where is the replacement additions coming from? Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn. Look at the Miami Marlins and the Triple-A team they are fielding this year, and then take a gander at the NL East Standings.
With only J.T. Realmuto, Starlin Castro, Justin Bour claiming status as full-fledged major league ballplayers, the Marlins are not embarrassing themselves. And moreover, they are competitive in every game they play under the tutelage of Don Mattingly, who knows something about winning baseball. Young, hungry, and athletic talent still goes a long way in this league.
It’s Sandy Alderson’s job, along with his scouting staff, to find the players in the Mets system who can be given an opportunity to join the team. Do you mean to tell me there isn’t one pitcher in their entire system who can’t make a jump similar to the one the Yankees gave to Jonathan Loaisiga, who came from Double-A to pitch five strong shutout innings on Friday night? The Mets have no one??
Another idea the Mets and Alderson can consider entertaining is to move against the grain of baseball as it’s played today. The Mets are not the Red Sox or the Yankees, both of whom are well on their way to setting a team record for home runs in a single season. In contrast, the Mets sit in 24th place out of 30 teams in home runs this year.
So why swim against the tide? Go back to Moneyball and the search for hitters with a good eye, fewer strikeouts, and the ability to get on base any which way they can. And just as a footnote, the Mets are dead last in on-base percentage this season in the National League.
Take Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and possibly Amed Rosario, although I’m not sold on him at all, and build around them with a bunch of scrappy, reliable, and intelligent (accent on that one) players. That is, the ones who have a “feel” for the game, and instinctively make the right decisions when they are on the field without having to carry a notebook in their back pocket telling them where to play each hitter in the outfield.
This is all achievable and not only that; it’s achievable before the Mets finish their next twenty games. To boot, and this will make the Wilpons delirious, the team will save money without spending a dime of dollars that isn’t already spent.
Finally, and you may have noticed, nowhere have we seen the name Yoenis Cespedes, the real Dark Knight of the New York Mets. And that’s because Cespedes needs to be put out to pasture in the same way the Yankees have exiled Jacoby Ellsbury, who is out until oblivion with a series of injuries which, surprisingly, no one in MLB offices is questioning.
You can be sure the Yankees are collecting insurance monies to cover most of Ellsbury’s salary, and it is this type of creativity the Mets can use in declaring Cespedes’s football legs not suitable for baseball while ridding themselves of a player who breeds negativity both on and off the field.
The Mets are more than salvageable. All the team needs is a blood transfusion and maybe a heart transplant. Answers, no. Food for thought, yes, and at least something to get this team moving.