The Mets, and in particular, General Manager, Sandy Alderson, have a full plate on their “to-do” list for this winter. Hiring a new manager is a good start, but the real problem is the team needs new and better players.
The Mets are currently concentrating on hiring a new manager to replace Terry Collins, the fallen warrior who swam upstream against the tide of a dysfunctional front office and ownership for the last two seasons.
A manager sits in the dugout during a game, and he relies on his players to get the job done. He pushes the right buttons at the right time, and the team is likely to win. But if he doesn’t have the player to execute when he pushes a button, all is lost, even if his name is Joe Maddon.
In a blitz of moves in July and August, Alderson threw a depth charge into all the power the Mets had, which wasn’t much, to begin with, when he moved Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson. By then, the team was in total disarray, and all hopes of catching the Nationals were lost, and in fact, the unspoken goal was just to stay ahead of the Phillies to avoid finishing last in the NL East.
Run Production Will Come From Where?
The projected lineup for the 2018 New York Mets looks something like this as of today:
Juan Lagares CF
Amed Rosario SS
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Michael Conforto RF
Dominic Smith 1B
Asdrubal Cabrera 2B
David Wright 3B
Travis d’Arnaud C
The questions, without the introduction of new players, about this lineup, are myriad. To begin, the inclusion of Wright is a dream only the most die-hard Mets fans hold on to. Give Wright all the credit in the world for his determination and willingness to torture his body instead of retiring while he can still walk. But the reality is the Mets need a third-baseman they can count on playing 140 games with some offensive punch.
Move to catcher, and we have a player the Mets have given every chance since they acquired him in the deal with the Blue Jays for Cy Young winner, R A Dickey. Travis d’Arnaud, in what is now 1300 at-bats, has a career average of .245 with a .306 on-base percentage. No one I know raves about his ability behind the plate, either. Think a change might be necessary?
And then we come to the prima donna, Yoenis Cespedes, who seems to have a hold on the Mets as to when he is “fit to play” and when he is not. Cespedes, in 2017, had less 300 at-bats and managed only 17 home runs and 45 driven in for a team that was scraping for runs amidst a devastated pitching staff.
In a worst-case scenario, the organization will be reminded they inherited a player who had been passed around the league before they traded for him and the reasons why that was the case. Someone needs to read him the riot act, and maybe the Mets should have that in mind when they hire a new manager.
Conforto and Rosario are future stars in the league, but concerning Conforto, he has to learn how to stay on the field if his value to the team is to be realized. And if Dominic Smith cannot support Conforto hitting behind him, Conforto will not see many pitches to hit. And, that’s a big if.
Piece By Piece
Most Mets fans do not expect an overnight rebuild, the kind of which we have seen with the Yankees. Alderson needs to convince the Wilpons to release the purse strings at least a little, so he can sign bonafide, but not necessarily “stars,” during the offseason.
The press conference announcing the departure of Collins as manager was accented by a few revealing, though brief, comments from Alderson about the future of the Mets.
Piece by piece, the team needs to be overhauled. The lineup at the top will not win anything in the NL East, especially since we can expect to see a progressively improving Phillies team and the beginning of the Derek Jeter Era in Miami.
Position players are accented in this article, but the pitching needs to be rebuilt as well. Trading Jacob deGrom sounds like heresy. But remember, the Mets once traded Tom Seaver at the height of his career. And the return for deGrom will be high enough to bring in some of the position players the Mets need now. A decision regarding Matt Harvey should also be on the Mets plate as they reorganize their starting staff.
Sometimes, you need to add by subtraction. And as you look at the Mets projected lineup for 2018 as seen above, the arrow is pointing in that direction.