After a decent week of beating up on struggling teams like the Pirates and Phillies, and seeing the Mets come to within a game of .500, you could imagine the wide-eyed look I gave at the prospect of a visit to Wrigley Field and the Cubs. Now, a mere three days later, all of that positive feeling has evaporated. Like a drug- the highs are high, but the crash is worse. The last two games have left me so bitter because these losses did not have to occur. They are a direct result of having an organizational focus that is not linked to winning. At least not winning today.
We all know about the Wilpon’s finances and how that has hamstrung payroll. To a great extent, since those decisions on payroll have already been made, those costs are sunk. But several decisions that have not been made have nothing to do with payroll, at least not 2014 payroll.
The first one is Chris Young. He may not be what you anticipated he would be, but he is exactly what he was (stats through June 4th in each year):
Plain and simple, he needs to go. Just benching him isn’t enough. The Mets are not deep enough to completely ignore a player on the 25-man roster. Even if he isn’t starting, he would likely be called upon to pinch hit in a crucial situation. No, the only solution is to outright release him. Cutting Chris Young today and replacing him with a platoon of Andrew Brown and Bobby Abreu does not have any impact on payroll at all. Not this year. Not next. The Mets will pay his $7M+ salary for this season whether he is striking out for us or not. All things being equal, I would prefer he do that somewhere else.
The Mets aren’t a very good team. I recognize that. For us to win, many things have to go right, and some of those things are outside of their control. But as luck would have it, the NL East has been beaten up by injury and no team is running away. So here they sit, in early June, a scant 3.5 games out of the division lead. I would not advocate trading away some of our long-term prospects for short-term help. But there are other things that could be done that do not impact current payroll or the long-term future of the team. Teams that have a commitment to winning find ways to maximize performance output and win more games. I ask this of the Mets, do you have that commitment?