The Mets, with the exception of hiring a new manager and filling out their coaching staff for the 2018 season, offer nothing of interest to write or read about. What’s up with that?
The Mets are beginning the offseason just like they ended the regular season, looking for a lifeline with hands tied behind their back. Their first order of business was to move Terry Collins aside as gracefully as possible. Mission accomplished, and Mickey Calloway was hired following a three minute and thirty-second search. Since then, we haven’t heard a peep from General Manager, Sandy Alderson, who has yet to provide a game plan for the Mets to pursue this offseason.
The coaching staff is intact though with the hiring of Gary DiSarcina, who served as the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox last season. Now, all the Mets need is some players for these new coaches to teach.
To date, the team has announced they are picking up the contracts of infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins. Cabrera made back-page news over the summer when he asked for a trade when Ahmed Rosario was brought up as the everyday shortstop. Apparently, though, he came to his 8.5 million dollar senses, deciding that playing third and second base wasn’t that bad after all.
Where’s the Mets plan for 2018
Other than those two less than earthshaking moves, the Mets have been either huddling behind closed doors putting together an explosive plan designed to produce a rash of trades and free agent signings that will rock the baseball world. And more importantly, re-capture the back pages of New York newspapers from the New York Yankees, who seem to produce a headline-worthy story every day.
Or, and more likely, Alderson is scratching his head trying to figure out how he can squeeze another dime from Fred and Jeff Wilpon who, in another time thought nothing of giving millions to Bernie Madoff.
From one perspective, you could say the Wilpon’s continued their gambling spree when they signed David Wright, to whom they owe another $50 million before his contract is mercifully up in 2021. Much like Madoff’s “investments,” Wright can be written off as bad luck brought about by re-occurring health issues no one could have predicted.
But that says nothing about last year’s under the gun signing of Yoenis Cespedes and the inheritance of a player who was lightning in a bottle when the Mets traded for him in 2015 and made their way deep into the playoffs. For $29 million, Cespedes did not even reach 300 at-bats for the Mets, limping through the season mostly telling the team when he was or was not ready to play on any given day for this or that ailment. For $90 million, the Mets get to live with that brand of “leadership” until 2021.
All of which paints a pretty bleak picture for the Mets moving forward and especially for the upcoming season. The Yankees got lucky, going through a “rebuilding” without ever going thru one. Where the teams differ, however, is the depth of each organization’s minor league system. And while the Yankees have too much talent to deal with, creating problems of its own with regards to spots on the roster, the Mets minor league teams played to an underwhelming .458 winning percentage, and only one team made it to the playoffs in their respective leagues.
So unless the Mets choose to adopt a George Steinbrenner “we’ll win this thing no matter how much money I have to spend,” which is not likely, chances are Mets “headlines” will continue to include marquee names like Cabrera and Blevins.
Do the Mets faithful count
The Mets faithful are used to this kind of treatment, even though 2,460,222 fans made their way to Citi Field to watch their team play in 2017. When is their reward coming?
Because when you look at the National League East, don’t start with the Nationals who have at most two years left with the players they have unless they reload and soon. Look instead to the Miami Marlins and the winning brand of ownership they now have in Derek Jeter. And look to the Philadelphia Phillies who are poised to make a massive push in the free-agent market this year or next. Ditto the Atlanta Braves with a brand new stadium and a hungry audience.
It’s not going to get more comfortable; it’s going to get harder. And the longer the Mets front office stays asleep at the wheel this offseason, the higher the chance one, or possibly all of these teams will pass them by in a New York minute.
The Mets need a “Brian Cashman Moment” when they decide on an entirely new direction for the team filled with vision and uncertainty when a Jacob deGrom and/or a Noah Syndergaard is traded for a boatload of prospects who are no more than a year or two away from the majors, a la Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, and you know the rest.
Given the Mets luck of late, the team may or may not enjoy immediate results as the Yankees did. It’s better than the bland nature of the Mets franchise we see today. No?