Time to Push the Panic Button: How to Fix the Mets

An article by posted on April 20, 2011

Even just 17 games into the season, it is fairly clear that the Mets are in big trouble. The team is sitting at 5-12 and they are already 5.5 games behind the Phillies. It is not as if the Phillies are even playing their best baseball of the season yet. They are still without Chase Utley.

The Mets have already jettisoned their Opening Day second baseman and the team has placed Chris Young on the disabled list. It appears that Bobby Parnell may also need to be placed on the DL.

There is a lot that must be done for the Mets to be competitive this season but it seems like that is not a possibility. It is very early but the team may need to look towards the 2012 season. At just over a tenth into the season, it is not too early to begin to look to the future.

The first thing that the Mets need to do is allow for Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner to have a competition for the second base spot for the rest of the year.  It may turn out that one of these two players is the Mets long-term solution at second base. Turner is once again having success in the minors as he is currently hitting about .300. Murphy has struggled a bit in the majors this year but his defense looks improved.

It is important that Terry Collins actually gives both players time to try to prove themselves. The Mets made a mistake giving up on Brad Emaus so early. Emaus was only allowed to have 37 at-bats with the Mets. If Emaus had just three more hits in those at-bats he would have been hitting .243 as opposed to .162 and he would still be on the Mets roster. Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson need to make sure not to make this same mistake again and get rid of a player too early. They should allow for Murphy and Turner to get at least 120 at bats a piece before they make any decisions.

The concept of trading Jose Reyes and even David Wright will be floated around a lot during this year. This cannot be done.

There is talk that Reyes is not valuable enough to the team right now because he struggles to post a high on-base percentage. Take a look at the Mets lineup right now. There are many holes offensively. If Reyes were moved than who would replace him? It would likely be Ruben Tejada. He is outstanding defensively but he is a black hole offensively. That is not something that the Mets can afford to have. The team should look to resign Jose Reyes this year because he is a valuable asset.

David Wright obviously has a massive amount of trade value and could bring the Mets back some outstanding prospects. The problem is that Wright is still young and he is a top five third baseman. It is incredibly difficult to justify trading him unless the Mets get an incredible return. He is part of the core with Jose Reyes and Ike Davis that Sandy Alderson should keep together for the next few years.

The Mets need to evaluate the assets that they have that could actually bring back value in a trade. These assets include Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, and Francisco Rodriguez. The Mets should look to move these players and bring back young Major League ready pitching prospects. The Mets rotation is currently one of their biggest weaknesses.

In addition to making these moves, the Mets should call up some of their younger players starting around early June and give them significant playing time in the Majors this year if they have proven that they can hold their own in at least AA. If this year is lost, then the team should look forward to next year. Players tend to struggle a bit in their first season. By giving players that can help the team in 2012 some MLB experience, this will help prepare them for the 2012 season.

Players such as Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Zach Lutz, Fernando Martinez (if healthy), and Josh Satin among others have the potential to play a role on the Mets roster in 2012. They should be given a chance to compete against Major League competition if they have proven that they can handle the minors. If the Mets are still playing this poorly in June, the team has nothing to lose.

The season is still young, but if the first few weeks have been any indication, it will be another long year for the Mets. There was hope coming into the season, but it has quickly faded. Changes will need to be made this year but it is just a matter of when. The team should look to prepare itself for 2012 and the future if its early struggles continue.

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