On paper, Brodie Van Wagenen put together a pretty good team. Disappointing results confound fans – what could be holding the Mets back?
It’s the mystery of the Mets 2019 season, however, that with all this assembled talent the team is still underperforming. How can that be?
With today’s loss to the Yankees in the first game a day-night doubleheader, the Mets are two games under .500. The play in the NL East, a division most say is still waiting for someone to step up like the Twins, Astros, and Dodgers have done in their divisions, where they have assembled double-digit leads.
In the all-important loss column, only four games separate the Mets from their main competition, the Phillies and Braves. The Wild Card race is tougher, as teams from the Central and NL West divisions have teams the Mets need to jump over before they qualify. Still, a 10-2 run takes care of everything.
Mets: The Answers Are Blowin’ In The Wind
Readers who have been following my column know I have been extra tough on the Mets of late. But that’s because it is late in the season just to be flirting with the .500 mark. I advocate for change. Some agree while others disagree. But the only thing that matters is how Brodie Van Wagenen sees the Mets.
With one hand tied behind his back by the Wilpons, Van Wagenen must build a better bullpen and find a power-hitting outfielder. The bullpen will be his hardest challenge because there are several teams lacking (think Red Sox, Twins, and Nationals at least) in this area.
It might also help if Mickey Callaway moves away from his touchy-feely style of managing. Robinson Cano should have been fined on the spot for his laziness in running to first. He doesn’t need to be Bobby Valentine, but he does need to set the tone for the team.
Maybe a Kangaroo Court of sorts can be introduced. Fail to move the runner up from second with none out? – that’ll cost you fifty bucks. Come in from the pen and walk the first batter you face? – that’ll cost you fifty bucks too. Get picked off? – that costs you a hundred bucks. And so on.
In the waning days of August, take all the money collected and throw a team party on an off day at a luxury resort with wives, girlfriends, and families all invited. Just anything to bring the team together.
No one I am aware of can put their finger on what’s holding the Mets back as a team. Yes, they’ve had their share of injuries. But they share that with all teams at this point in the season. With the exception of Jed Lowrie, all injuries have been minor in terms of time lost, and most bewildering their starting staff has been intact all season with no one missing more than a start or two.
It’s hard for Mets players when they know there is no support from the money conscious Wilpons. Ownership is an easy target – yes – but it can’t be pointed to as an excuse for what happens on the field.
Mets Culture: “If Anything Can Go Wrong, It Will”
The culture of the Mets and a portion of their fanbase is built on the adage “If anything can go wrong, it will”. Or so it seems. That needs to change – collectively as a team. If there is anyone in the clubhouse taking up space or acting in a divisive manner, they need to go now. Callaway can identify who they are to Brodie, and if he can’t then Callaway needs to go.
Winning covers up everything. With upcoming series against the Phillies (twice), Braves (twice), Cardinals, and Cubs, the Mets have control of their destiny up or down.
The answer to which way it goes lies within that clubhouse. There’s something in the culture of the clubhouse that appears to be missing. Whatever it is, it needs to be uncovered quickly. Otherwise, the next three weeks are going to be torturous for all fans of the Mets – not to mention the team itself.