It’s taking a while, but it looks as though the Mets are on the cusp of grasping reality and a lost season with the first of what is likely to be a string of call-ups from their farm system. Mets fans should rejoice at this development.
It’s never easy for a team to grasp reality before a season even reaches the halfway point. But when the Mets could not expand on a modest three-game winning streak during their recent road trip, limping home to face the Dodgers with a 3-7 record on the trip, it does appear Sandy Alderson, with the help Assistant GM, John Ricco, is ready to reface the team with the out with the old and in with the new strategy for the remainder of the season.
Accordingly, it was refreshing to read an article written by Tim Ryder for Metsmerized Online in which he reports:
Neither of the two players is likely to turn the Mets season around, but the move, if it happens, is a signal the Mets are ready to move forward with whatever young talent they have, regardless of the hit their won-lost record might take.
Standing in the way, of course, is another reality facing the team, which is you can’t add before you subtract. But when you have as much extra baggage as the Mets have, Alderson can deduct and take his pick from among Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Jeurys Familia, Jose Bautista, Zack Wheeler, and not miss a beat. Let’s see, did I forget anyone? Oh yes, that elephant in the room, the one with the no-trade clause, Yoenis Cespedes.
Both Reyes and Bautista can and should be simply cut and released from the team. Hours spent on the phone by Alderson is not required. As for the others, Alderson will need to put in the time and effort to complete trades in which each one brings back a prospect or two the Mets can build on for the future.
The Mets can take a tip from Dayton Moore, the GM of the Kansas City Royals, a team sputtering much like the Mets. Moore unloaded his good to excellent closer, Kelvin Herrera, to the Washington Nationals, a team in desperate need, for prospects thought to be beneath the talent of Herrera.
But as Sam Mellinger points out, writing for the Kansas City Star, “If you look closely, you can see what this is about. The pieces are bizarre by themselves but put them together, and they follow a stream of logic, whether you agree with the plan or not.”
The salient being that if Sandy Alderson decides to move Familia or anyone else who has value, up to and including Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, the moves must be part of a master plan. And whether or not we understand what’s happening as fans in bits and pieces are of no consequence, provided Alderson and his staff sees the big picture.
It becomes an exercise similar to putting a jigsaw puzzle together. And sometimes, you need to just work on a section, maybe a corner piece of the puzzle. This is similar to what Brian Cashman did in 2016 when he identified his bullpen as the target of trades he would make, a bullpen still intact today. With that problem solved, Cashman then moved on to forming up his starting rotation, getting Sonny Gray from the A’s last season. And so on, until the puzzle ends up putting itself together.
The problem the Mets have had over the last decade is the absence of that critical master plan, using instead a piecemeal approach going in several directions and leading to a situation where chaos and dysfunction become all too visible, even to fans.
And yes, we know all about the Cheapscape Wilpons. But that should not be a reason to throw in the towel and saying deals can’t be made. And besides, a deal like the one the Royals just made decreases the size of the payroll, bringing in players who are controllable for the next four to six years.
I keep saying, where there’s a will there’s a way. This is not rocket science. Bringing some young talent in from the Mets farm system, such that it is, is an excellent first step and one the Mets should continue to build on.
But the real juice in re-making the team lies in the ingenuity of Alderson to unload the deadwood, and ensuring that the return, however modest it may be, fits the pieces that go together with the master plan.