Another year, another disastrous Mets season looks to be happening.
And it started so well too. Everything that could go right for the Mets in April went right. They were 17-9 in the NL East and fighting with their two of their big rivals the Phillies and Braves while the Nationals were scuffling. Since that point however New York has gone 11-25.
So what happened? Or was it always in the cards even when the Mets were winning?
And a lot of things can be blamed. Injuries can take its toll. But the Mets offense has not been there at all even when they had been winning. In their 14-2 win over San Diego on their last game in April, New York had two guys hitting over .260 on the team and that was Asdrubal Cabrera and Brandon Nimmo. The rest of the crew had been mess.
Since then it has somehow gotten worse. A friend of mine and I had a debate whether or not the Mets would be competitive in 2018. He said yes but I said no. He had valid arguments such as the likes of Michael Conforto would take the next step of being an All-Star, Jay Bruce was back, and getting Yoenis Cespedes fully healthy would really create havoc. My argument was that something about Conforto didn’t sit right with me as I just felt he was more of an average hitter who played above his potential in 2017. Cespedes has too many nagging injuries to be taken too seriously. Jay Bruce I thought would come back better in his second go around, but Frazier is all-or-nothing, mostly nothing. What we’re seeing is an implosion by the offense where the Mets rank in the bottom 3 or 4 in the NL in nearly every category save for triples and walks. Worse, the outfield that had high hopes, is looking more what I viewed them. Cespedes has been on the DL for what was supposed to be a short stint, could be now 2 months when all is said & done. Even when he had been the lineup he hasn’t been producing on Cespedes levels (.255, .790 OPS isn’t horrid, but not what Mets fans were expecting either). Michael Conforto has been a nightmare at the plate, hitting .215 and an OPS under .700 after the Yankees series. It has been so bad for Conforto that the Mets are seriously considering sending him down to Las Vegas. Worse, Conforto is not taking it well to that idea. And given how manager Mickey Callaway called out Conforto on a defensive blunder after a game, there may be tension with Conforto and Callaway in the clubhouse. And Jay Bruce has been a nightmare himself, hitting only .219 with 3 HR and an OPS if he is not careful that is starting to drop to the .600 mark if he isn’t careful. And the irony has been he is one of the healthiest Mets this year. Todd Frazier save for his 2-run HR tonight against the Yankees, hasn’t done much. Adrian Gonzalez has underperformed to the point that the Mets just released him after his 3 strikeout outing. Amed Rosario is still young but he hasn’t done much.
The ironic part was many thought the Mets did addition by subtraction by trading the unhappy Matt Harvey out to Cincinnati. Well, while Harvey didn’t do anything to help the Mets, it showed there may have been more problems than just him.
From a pitching perspective, the Mets have dealt with the injury bug pretty badly through here as ace Noah Syndergaard is on the DL while two key relievers of AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia are also on the list with no timetables for any return just yet. Aside from Jacob DeGrom and Steven Matz, the Mets starters have been a mess, notably their prized free agent pickup in Jason Vargas (2-4, 7.71 ERA in 7 games) and Zack Wheeler hasn’t excited many with his pitching (2-4, 4.57 ERA in 11 games). The bullpen has been fine but starting to get overworked and doesn’t mean a whole lot if the starters can’t stick around for a while.
So right now, the Mets have issues needless to say. Add in the fact they have now seen the Nationals start to click as we have expected while the Braves aren’t going anywhere and the Phillies are still in the mix and it is going to be a tough climb. But Sandy Alderson has said there will be no rebuild to the Amazins. He may need to re-think that before he gets his pink slip. If the Mets are out of it by the end of July (which is becoming more and more of a possibility), they HAVE to start moving pieces especially given the farm system many regard is near the bottom of the Majors right now. They can move somebody like Cabrera (who has been the Mets offensive MVP alongside Brandon Nimmo). They can try to find a taker for Frazier as well. But one rumor that has really picked up steam is the possibility of trading Jacob deGrom (who is already 30) which could replenish the farm big time as he is locked into a nice contract and teams could use an ace like him.
To me, the Mets are clinging onto a slim hope that the team they built will push past their hated rivals in the NL East and again in October to get back to the World Series. But the team is incredibly thin on the offensive side with too many guys trying to go for the long ball and not enough guys trying to get on base and drive in runs. And being in the park like Citi Field it only spells disaster for them. Teams with that kind of hope and mentality normally are the ones we see that ultimately fail to rebuild when the time is right and years of futility that follows. We saw what the Phillies had to endure as it took them nearly 5 years to recover. We are seeing that the Tigers may have sold too late on some of their guys and one wonders how long it will take Detroit to recuperate. The Orioles once again failed to rebuild when needed and maybe another long period of futility is hitting Baltimore. The Mets need to learn from these teams and say “it’s time to go back to the drawing board.”
If they don’t, it may be a while before meaningful baseball is played in Queens.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat