The Mets will not be in the playoffs this year. The real test, however, is yet to come in identifying the failures and then correcting them.
Mets players will scatter across the country in two weeks, returning to their families, outside businesses, and rounds of leisurely golf with friends. Their season is over, and there will be no more games to play.
For the Mets front office, though, their season of work will only be dawning.
As with any failure, the first order of business has to identify the cause, or in this causes, for the failure.
The need to accelerate this part of the corrective action process will be tempting as twenty-nine major league teams will be doing the same thing, as the sweepstakes competition for the Class of 2022 Free Agents will be underway simultaneously.
Anxious Mets fans will add pressure, but the Mets need to ignore it, as they need to vet players thoroughly before pulling the trigger, signing players to long-term deals that do not pan out.
And there’s no need to go back to yesteryear, pointing to someone like Jason Bay, Bobby Bonilla, Oliver Perez, and Vince Coleman – because they did it again as recently as last offseason.
What vetting process and who on the Mets staff, for example, determined that signing what has amounted to a part-time pedestrian catcher (James McCann) to a four-year $40 million deal?
As we know, hindsight is always 20/20 but is it not fair to ask why the Mets also signed Jerry Blevins, Jerad Eickhoff, Trevor May, David Osuna, and Stephen Tarpley – none of whom made a single contribution to the Mets this year and have long disappeared.
And just for hee haws, nine years from now, how will the Mets and their fans feel about the trade and the subsequent ten-year $341 million giveaway to Francisco Lindor?
In sum, the Mets need to concentrate more on quality than quantity, which pins the hope of finding lightning in a bottle when they consider signing a free agent for 2022.
Who are these quality players on this year’s list? I defer to those supposedly in the know – Sandy Alderson, whoever Steve Cohen chooses as his Director Of Baseball Operations (Theo Epstein, Billy Beane, et al.), the scouting department, and the well-advertised analytics boys.
Mets: There Can’t Be Addition Without Subtraction
So, assuming the Mets will focus on adding players via free agency or trades, the other part of the equation needs to also simultaneously take place – who stays and who goes on the Mets’ roster?
The first phase of this is entirely a Mets decision that keys to a healthy list of players who will be free agents at the end of this season.
They include key and potentially expensive players Javier Baez, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, and Marcus Stroman.
However, the list extends to role players like Brad Hand, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Jonathan Villar, Rich Hill, and Aaron Loup.
In each case, the Mets control their own fate. They can ignore the player, let him go on about his way, make him a qualified offer, which is expected to be as high as $22 million this year, or join the competition to sign the player to a new contract.
Again, these decisions made by the Mets front office will test the adequacy, patience, and “feel” for each player, one by one.
With the possible exception of Conforto and Stroman, none of the players on either list warrant a salary of anything near $22 million, so in those cases, it’s either a go or let-go decision for the Mets.
Mets: Subtraction And Addition Via Trades
By now, you can see the complexities facing the Mets front office, and there is still another one.
Which players have either worn out their time with the Mets or have a market value that can bring needed talent to the Mets as a trade piece?
Again, it seems wise to defer to the “experts” in the Mets front office, but in perusing the team’s 40-man roster, players like Dominic Smith, Taijuan Walker, Jeff McNeil, and J.D. Davis comes to mind as being attractive to other teams, with equal return for the Mets.
The Mets also have 11 players on the 60-day injured list, making their credibility suspect to another team.
It’s Year Two Of Steve Cohen’s Plan
Many Mets fans, including this one, are willing to give Cohen and the team a mulligan for 2021.
As a newcomer to the baseball business, Steve Cohen found himself in unfamiliar territory, with little than Sandy Alderson as support and much to learn.
Cohen remained mostly in the background to his credit, not flexing his considerable financial resources at the trade deadline. This was met with skepticism by the media and fans, but he prevailed.
Not so from here on in, and Cohen’s honeymoon is over.
The Mets were beaten by the Braves and Phillies, who proved to be better and more resilient this year. If that happens again, fans will throw a fit, and the word “dysfunction” will creep back into any discussion about the Mets again.
It All Begins At The Top
Failure can be rationalized and made acceptable if corrective action is taken to prevent a reoccurrence of the same mistakes – and a movement forward is visible – and in baseball, there is no substitute for winning.
2022 is the point where the see-saw has to swing the other way, and an appearance in the playoffs is a must as a stepping stone to the last year of Cohen’s 3-year plan to bring a championship to Mets Fans.
But everything hinges on what the Mets front office does – or doesn’t do – during the offseason. There’s no room for error and the Mets universe will be watching closely.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Deborah Crane Alonso is going to demand and get a big paycheck next year. Hitting has either been anemic or in short spurts. Javy stays. Pitching, always the org’s showcase was a disaster. The jury is out on Noah. Diaz can leave, Megill showed some promise in early starts but went to hell in his last 5. Walker did nothing after the All-Star break. Conforto vs Smith is a toss. Smith had a good 60 games last year but can play 1st if anything should (Gasp) happen to Pete. The big debate is Rojas. I think he’s gone. Even Keith in the booth calls better strategies. His cat could.
Rand Weeks The failure that poisoned this team’s offense all year cannot be “corrected”: we’re stuck with him for 10 more years. All they can do is weed out guys that shouldn’t be going anywhere. Other than Dom Smith.
Jason Bond Resigning Baez is a BIG MISTAKE
John Kaniuk The GM can no longer blame the owner. He needs to look in the mirror as he blew it. Presumed to be Alderson.
Nicholas Alexin They got to get rid of their coaching staff and brand new coaches
Billy Ansbach One of the failures is the manager, no team loses that many one-run games except for this team, Bobby Valentine won a few games a year from the dugout, this guy couldn’t outsmart my dog
Doc Rachell Tell me something I don’t know.
Eric Williams Come on we went from last to third. That’s something to build off and our roster will be a lot better with healthy pitching. Let’s see
Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts
This will close published comments due to increasing page length. As always, opinions vary and after all, that’s what this is all about.