The New York Mets watched the final out of the World Series more than a month ago. A full month has passed, and the team has nothing, nil, nada to show for it. Really?
The Mets wasted little time hiring a General Manager to replace Sandy Alderson. Score the timing as a B+, though not necessarily giving the job to Brodie Van Wagenen. However, since then there’s a big goose egg on the scoreboard regarding additions and subtractions to improve the team.
Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. These are the transactions of the Mets for November to date:
What we see here is a reshuffling of the deck they’re already playing with. And what’s worse, there are no calls or pending actions to obtain a new deck to play with. The same ole’ Mets? Say it ain’t so, but it probably is.
December and January are bound to speed by, especially with the downtime of the Holidays. All of a sudden, it’s Spring Training, and a prognosis of the Mets trying to catch up with everybody looms (again) like a memory from the past.
This was supposed to be different. After all, that’s what Fred Wilpon said, right? There would be “no rebuild,” and the Mets were in it to win it based primarily on the strength of their starting staff. Never mind that each starter would be expected to pitch 8 2/3 innings because the team has no bullpen. Or that their lineup is loaded with lefties, unless they are comfortable in waiting for Yoenis Cespedes to tell the team when he is ready to play again.
Look, I know the sarcasm isn’t needed. But what is one to think when third-baseman Josh Donaldson is signed to a one year deal by the Atlanta Braves today, and the Yankees trade for James Paxton while the fire is hot – but the Mets can’t seem to muster up the energy to at least tell their fans – “Hey. At least we’re trying”.
Van Wagenen has gotten off to a good start, but only in certain respects. Taking the opportunity to have dinner with Peter Alonso, the Mets promising first baseman of the future, gave me goosebumps, prompting a fistbump in the air like – Yes, that’s how you do it!
Similarly, Van Wagenen’s “announcement” that Jeff McNeil is the Mets second baseman, and it’s his job to lose come Spring, is a confidence builder not only for McNeil but for other Mets who need to know they can win a job – if they perform.
Van Wagenen’s hands may or may not be tied by the tight-fisted Wilpons. At this point, though, we just don’t know. Let the word get out that Van Wagenen has taken deals to sign Andrew McCutchen, Daniel Murphy, and Michael Brantley (only names out of a hat) to the Wilpons, indicating the player(s) are waiting for us…
Then, let’s see what happens when the ball is put squarely in the Wilpon’s court – publicly – even if Van Wagenen is forced to find a leaker from his staff. Call that treason? Some would, but I would simply call it doing the job I was hired to do, which is to make the Mets a better team.
As Yogi Berra said, “It sure gets late early out here.” Yogi was speaking, of course, about the sunset that used to creep over the first-base stands directly in the left fielder’s eyes at the old Yankee Stadium.
But as with all Yogisms, there’s an element of wisdom in what he is saying. And for the Mets, it means get crackin’, or you’ll be slackin’ again – 2019.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor
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