Its hard to fathom now, but the Mets had a realistic shot at the playoffs only one month ago. Since then the team has taken a turn for the worst with a lot of poorly played baseball compounded by additional injuries. In the process, the current situation has re-highlighted some glaring issues that the team’s successful first half had given us the luxury of forgetting about.
First and foremost, the team’s pitching staff desperately needs another overhaul. To a certain point, that will come in the eventual promotion of the Harvey, Wheeler, Familia and Mejia contingent. That however won’t get it done in the long run. While RA Dickey has proven himself as one of the game’s elite (albeit awkward) pitchers, the rest of the starting staff has been disappointing. Jon Niese remains inconsistent and Johan Santana has been a mess since in June no-hitter. Then we get to the bullpen… The truth is bullpens are always in flux as its historically difficult for many relief pitchers to maintain a high level of play from year to year, but the Mets have had extremely poor luck. From the current crop, its realistic to think only Francisco, Edgin and possibly Rauch find themselves on the roster next season. That’s a great deal of turnover for a team supposedly headed in the right directly.
A look at the rest of the roster finds a variety of players who were being counted on to take a step forward, but ultimately failed miserably. Here is a look at just a few:
- Andres Torres, who was acquired last winter as a band-aid in center field, has been repeatedly hampered by injury and has struggled at the plate all season. For much of the season, he has found himself second fiddle to rookie, Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Definitely not the situation Mets’ brass hoped for when envisioning the 2012 season in their head.
- Lucas Duda was handed the spot in right field in an effort to find a place for his bat. His offense, unfortunately, has abandoned him. That, combined with his defensive liability and what has been described as a poor attitude has found him beached in Buffalo with his opportunity wasted and his value shattered.
- Jason Bay…oh where do we start. More inuries and more ineptitude at the plate have finally cost Bay his everyday spot in left. Batting well under .200 this season, Bay is likely on his way out despite what Sandy Alderson recently said about the $19 million he is still owed on his current contract.
- Josh Thole was the Mets best bet coming into the season behind the plate. As is the case with everyone else on this list, he hasn’t gotten it done. A team can stomach a singles hitter if they justify their spot on the roster with their defense. Thole has repeatedly struggled to keep the ball from going to the backstop and can’t throw anyone else on the base paths. He’s not an everyday major league player, no matter what way you try to cut it.
- Ike Davis has probably been the biggest surprise disappointment this year. Mired in a terrible slump for the first two months of the season, Ike has never really turned it on this year. The saving grace to his season will be his power numbers, which have not slumped nearly as much as his average and will ultimately salvage his spot for the time being as the Met’s first baseman of the future.
Much of this didn’t rear its ugly head until the team fell off the pace, but now it has become clear that the organization still has a great deal of work to do before they become a legitimate contender again. With that said, the resurgence of David Wright is most positive thing to come out of 2012. He has once again solidified himself amongst the best third baseman in baseball. Moving around the remainder of the infield, Ruben Tejada’s patient approach at the plate and stout defense have proven to be a quality replacement for the departed Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy has come a loooong way at second base.
The issue remains that outside of those guys, and RA Dickey of course, the Mets as a whole haven’t improved much. It was fun to field fully home grown lineups, but its obvious the answer to the team’s woes aren’t within the organization right now. The 2012 season hasn’t yielded the results any of us had hoped. There is no reason to believe the Mets are only a few players away from success and an argument can now be made that the organization has actually gone backwards this year. Yes, despite the successful first half, the 2012 season has proven to be a costly one for the New York Mets.
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