It’s Time For The Mets To Define The Moment

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Ah yes, that wonderful time of the year when every Mets fan who has been waiting for this team to fail can pop out of their hole and hold up their “I told you so!” sign. It’s truly one of my favorite times of the year because you see and hear almost the same argument – but with no clear solution to the problems they point to.

“The Mets should have made a trade already!”

The media is certainly helping put this story together, just in case you needed help writing your 140 character complaint.

Two nights ago I tweeted to ESPN’s Adam Rubin this: “In 2 wildcard era, losing teams not trading best players until late July. A reality Mets fans need to come to terms with.”

And before I mention his reply – let me just be clear on something. What I said – was a fact.

Do you realize that since the two wildcard system was put into place there have been TWO “significant” additions made to a big league club via trade from April through June?

Those two moves were Kevin Youkilis being sent to the White Sox in 2012 at the end of June and Eric Young Jr being traded to the Mets in mid-June of 2013.

That’s right sports fans. Eric Young Jr. is actually in the conversation for “setting the bar” when it comes to “impact now” trades that occurred before July in the prior three seasons. Let that sink in for a second before we move on.

So Rubin’s reply was “Elite players? Or making waiver claims and acquiring stopgaps so you don’t have to play AAAA guys?”

Now I like Rubin, I think he does a great job of covering the Mets but at the same time this made me scratch my head. First of all, what waiver claim isn’t a AAAA guy?

Take a serious look at the players who were on waivers so far this year. You’ll notice such difference makers like Casey McGehee, Matt Dominguez and our own Kirk Nieuwenhuis?

Sorry but that just isn’t a valid argument to me and it feeds into this constant storyline of hoping, or should I say expecting the Mets to turn water into wine right away.

Here is the truth. Ready for it?

The Mets NEED a difference maker on offense. Those types of players are not readily available, and you can’t expect somebody to come knocking on the Mets door in May offering up a player like that.

Here’s another truth.

For better or worse, this team is waiting on David Wright. I’ve never been as pessimistic about a player coming back from an injury as I am with Wright – and I hope I’m wrong. But you have to at least acknowledge that the Mets MUST keep hope alive and must wait this out and hope that he will return to being a productive player after the All-Star Game.

They likely aren’t going to jump off a bridge and hope they land on a superstar 3B before they know where they stand with Wright.

We often hear that the Mets need a SS so that they can move Flores to 2B.

And yeah, that may improve the defense somewhat but I got news for you – Flores isn’t hitting consistently enough to be accommodated like that. He’s had some key HR for sure, but on a nightly basis he is a defensive liability and a below average hitter.

For all of Murphy’s idiosyncrasies, he’s a better ballplayer than Flores – and if Dilson Herrera or Matt Reynolds (depending on his ability at 2B) are the future of 2B in this organization then perhaps it’s time to seriously start thinking about whether Wilmer Flores has value inside a package of players to acquire a player?

The Mets shouldn’t be worried about what to do at 3B long-term without Wright right now. Sure, it’s a scary situation but they have alternatives at 3B (such as signing Murphy) in 2015.

So, that takes us back to finding a difference maker who plays SS, and maybe a backup catcher to come with him.

You know, I know that some of you will instantly say Jose Reyes – but he isn’t the guy they need whether Toronto was ever in sell mode or not.

They don’t need a table setter. They need a guy who makes everybody else better – and a guy who can produce runs.

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It pains me to say this because I know that financially it’s a huge risk, and with the Mets luck the day he is acquired he’ll land on the disabled list – but the Mets should revisit the Troy Tulowitzki market. I know what many will say, and I’ll probably agree with almost all of it.

If you could tell me there was an alternative infielder who could truly make a big difference for the Mets and was actually available – I’m all ears. I’d love to see a player like Todd Frazier, but I also think he’d cost more in talent and also assumes David Wright’s career at 3B is over. I’m not a huge believer in Starlin Castro either. Since 2013, Castro is a below .700 OPS hitter with poor defense. That doesn’t do it for me.

Sometimes you have to take risks in order to achieve your full potential.

Yes his health is a risk – yes he plays in Colorado – yes he makes a ton of money – yes many months ago I talked myself out of wanting Tulo. Nobody will debate with you on any of these.

Whether you value my opinion or not, the first three points above are valid red flags that can’t be ignored.

But, you can’t be afraid to try and make your team better all the time. Remember when the Mets talked themselves out of Vlad Guerrero (of course you do)?

One of my favorite quotes in a movie comes from Tin Cup. When a defining moment comes around, you either define the moment – or the moment defines you. That is where this team is at right now. And that is why you take the risk on Tulowitzki right now.

Take Michael McKenry (unless you can get Nick Hundley which would mean Colorado moves Wilin Rosario back behind the dish) in the deal along with Tulo – and offer up a package that includes Wilmer Flores but features Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz. The Mets would have to throw in another mid-level guy of course, but I think featuring one of those arms should start a serious conversation, especially considering Tulo’s previous health record his contract and the Rockies desperate need for quality arms. 

It’d be a tough pill to swallow, but the Mets have to remember that Zack Wheeler is coming back next year and the idea that a team will take a player coming off Tommy John surgery in a trade during the winter is highly unlikely.

If you don’t give up both Syndergaard and Matz – you know your rotation in 2016 already features deGrom-Harvey-Not Traded Guy-Niese-Wheeler. The Mets can’t go into 2016 with 6 or 7 quality big league starters.

Somebody has to go, and if one must go – you have to get the best possible value for that player, and there aren’t a lot of options out there.

When you pound your fist or furiously type on Twitter that the Mets should “do something,” I rarely hear or read what that something is. So there it is for you.

The Mets need an impact player.

They don’t need Ben Zobrist (though he’d be a nice addition for depth).

They don’t need a heading out to pasture player like Aramis Ramirez.

They don’t need a 2B like Brad Miller who hasn’t proven he can hit in the big leagues – because we already have enough players like that.

They don’t need Jean Segura because we already had Eric Young Jr. once before.

They certainly don’t need waiver pickups either.

They need impact.

They need a player that would join this roster and instantly awaken players like Juan Lagares, and Lucas Duda.

They need a player that lessens the pressure on aging players like Curtis Granderson or Michael Cuddyer and allows them to be veteran leaders without feeling like they need to carry the team offensively every night.

They need a player that would instantly make the pitchers feel as though this organization is doing everything they can to ensure their talents are not wasted.

They need a player that will ignite the fan base – and give the fans a reason to believe that this organization does believe this team can be special if given the chance.

And even with all of the reasons to not make the trade – Troy Tulowitzki is that player. Of course, that’s just my opinion – I could be wrong.

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About Michael Branda 267 Articles

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980’s teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he’s in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.