Mets Merized Online » Mike Simon http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:46:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 The Blame Game: Why Are The Mets So Bad, Again? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/the-blame-game-why-are-the-mets-so-bad-again.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/the-blame-game-why-are-the-mets-so-bad-again.html/#comments Sun, 25 May 2014 14:36:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156555 It may be time to revise Mr. Wilpon’s famously coined phrase from “meaningful games in September” to “meaningful games in June”.

At this rate, even that seems like a long shot, especially with the team’s annual freefall now beginning before Memorial Day.

After a promising 15-11 start that had the marketing department proclaiming that the Mets were back in business, the team has gone 6-15 to put them at 21-26 for the season. The team has lost seven of their last nine games and appear headed for another very long and disappointing season.

Who is most at fault?  Let’s take a look at the prime suspects.

wilpon

Fred Wilpon, Owner

Heading into the season, Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his minions have frequently declared that the team’s financial woes were in the rear view mirror, under the guise of allowing GM Sandy Alderson to spend significant money on free agents Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young. However, the team slashed payroll for the fourth consecutive season, shaving another $10+ million from 2013 levels. The Mets now rank among the bottom five among all teams in payroll and continue to look more and more like a small market team. The Mets didn’t even pretend to go after Jose Abreu, who got $68 million and leads the league in home runs, or Masahiro Tanaka, who got $155 million and looks like a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Wilpon wasn’t even willing to shell out $14 million for shortstop Stephen Drew to fill the Mets’ weakest position and one that was tabbed a top priority last October. None of those players were cheap by any means, but the fact that a team in America’s biggest market wasn’t ever in serious play for them spoke volumes about Wilpon’s true financial state.

sandy alderson

Sandy Alderson, General Manager

On one hand, Alderson has pulled off two potentially great trades to net top prospects Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, though the first two have yet to distinguish themselves and the latter has yet to throw a pitch in the majors. On the other hand, even if all three eventually turn into stars, the rest of Alderson’s work in New York has been downright uninspiring.  For the fourth year in a row he has failed to construct even an average bullpen. This past offseason he was finally allowed to go shopping, but the toys he picked out – Granderson, Colon and Young – have been largely inconsistent and hardly worth the big-bucks so far. To make matters worse, Alderson’s moneyball approach which previously brought in cheap, productive players like Marlon Byrd and Scott Hairston, seems to have disappeared this year. He still hasn’t been able to upgrade first base or shortstop despite stating both as an offseason priority. He also gets some blame for putting together yet another sub-500 team in his fourth year at the helm, and what could be six consecutive losing seasons for the franchise.

terry collins dugout

Terry Collins, Manager

Collins was not given a very good roster, and his players do usually play with heart, but it’s hard to say the Mets skipper has done the best possible job with what he has.  First off, Collins refuses to allow for any sense of continuity in the lineup.  His benching a week ago of Juan Lagares, a great defensive center fielder and one of the team’s only productive hitters, was mind boggling, especially since every other outfielder is hitting under or barely above .200.  His reluctance to start the unproven Wilmer Flores at shortstop every day, if for nothing else than to gauge his ability for the future, would make more sense if it wasn’t to give more time to Ruben Tejada, perhaps the most unproductive hitter in the league.  Collins’ bullpen management has also been suspect.  He is on his way towards repeating last year’s burnout of Scott Rice with Carlos Torres, and his “closer by committee” strategy has largely failed, with more than a half dozen relievers already getting save opportunities two months in, some of whom have since been demoted to the minors or released. There’s also the frequent in-game blunders which have become even more magnified this season.  It’s hard to quantify exactly what makes a good baseball manager, but Collins hasn’t been one.

chris young

The Players

They have often been mis-managed, mis-used and even mis-paid, but that doesn’t change the fact that just about every Mets player has under performed so far this season.  Of the hitters, only Lagares and Daniel Murphy have really met or exceeded expectations.  David Wright has been coming on strong lately, but has shown no power. Granderson has hit for some power and not much else, but has also been heating up this past week. Lucas Duda has been the definition of mediocre, Chris Young the definition of bad, and Eric Young the definition of one-dimensional (speed).  And yet all of them have looked good to great in comparison to Tejada and d’Arnaud, who have been two of the worst offensive “everyday” players in baseball. On the mound, while Dillon Gee and Jon Niese have been good, Wheeler has struggled and Bartolo Colon, who used to be the model of consistency, gets blown out every other start.  Almost every reliever in the ever-changing bullpen has gone through long stretches of uselessness. They are not alone by any means.

So who deserves the most blame for the Mets latest round of ineptitude?  You be the judge.

iheartnym

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Back Under .500, Mets Facing Crossroads http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/back-under-500-mets-facing-crossroads.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/back-under-500-mets-facing-crossroads.html/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 17:41:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155106 terry collins

There may be 129 games left to play, but it’s not an overreaction to say that the Mets are at a critical juncture of their season.

After a pleasantly surprising start to the season, the Mets lost Wednesday to fall back under .500, an event that has proven to be a death knell the last couple years.  In 2012 our collective hopes were kept up until July 22nd before a loss pushed the team below the even mark and into the abyss.  Last season’s warm feeling was much more fleeting, as the Mets fell to 10-11 on April 26th and never recovered.

Of course, .500 is a fairly arbitrary, and, by definition, average percentage.   And being at, above or below that mark in May probably doesn’t mean much over an extremely long season.

But with the rival Phillies coming to town, followed by a rough stretch of games with the Yankees, Nationals and Dodgers, hovering at or above .500 could be a huge psychological boost to a team that just suffered three walk-off losses in a week.  It will help bring more fans to the park as the weather warms up, keep the Mets out of cynical back page puns in the daily tabloids and bring back the confident vibe the team seemed to have just a week ago.

Mets third baseman David Wright spoke about this juncture in a season after Wednesday’s game. “This is where we’ve gotten ourselves in trouble in the past. We allow these things to kind of stretch out for a couple of weeks rather than a series here and there.”

“But this is where we need to stop it here. There’s an off day tomorrow and then regroup. We’ve been playing better at home as of late. So, hopefully, we can take care of business at home. Hopefully the difference between this year and the last couple of years is when we go in these little slides we stop it at a series or stop it at two series rather than let it carry over and turn into a couple-week thing.”

Like most people, I didn’t and still don’t think the Mets will be very good this year.  But they are at a crossroads of sorts in terms of the 2014 season.  The Mets can rebound from this brutal past week and make the year fun for as possible, or they go into the downward-spiral mode we have become all too familiar with before Memorial Day.

Let’s hope that when all is said and done, however it plays out, we aren’t saying that May 7th was the beginning of the end of the 2014 Mets season.

Presented By Diehards

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Grading the Mets Offseason http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/grading-the-mets-offseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/03/grading-the-mets-offseason.html/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 03:10:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=151613 Curtis Granderson

The Mets offseason is over, which is great news for anyone itching to finally turn off their “Stephen Drew” Google alerts for good.  The team will likely start the 2014 season as currently constructed, so it’s time to look back and grade GM Sandy Alderson’s work.

Heading into the winter, the shopping list was a long one.  The Mets needed two outfielders, resolved situations at shortstop and first base, a starting pitcher or two and a revamped bullpen.  Let’s see how Alderson did…

Outfield

Last season the Mets outfield featured immortals like Rick Ankiel, Andrew Brown and Collin Cowgill, so needless to say upgrading the position was Alderson’s biggest priority.  In Curtis Granderson and Chris Young he found solid additions that will hit for low averages, but will play good defense and should provide some much needed power.  Getting 45-50 combined homeruns from the two of them shouldn’t be a stretch, and Granderson will finally give David Wright lineup support he hasn’t had since the Beltran days.

Grade: B

Shortstop

Despite months of incessant Drew rumors, Alderson decided to stand pat with Ruben Tejada and hope that he returns to 2012 form.  I originally agreed that the price for Drew was too high, but after seeing Tejada enter 2014 the same way he ended 2013 – underwhelming defensively and offensively – Drew is looking better by the day. A swap for someone like Nick Franklin, Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings might still be possible, but Tejada will likely be the starting shortstop until he is hurt or booed out of Flushing. We can only hope for the best.

Grade: D

First Base

Simply put, this was a disaster.  Alderson did everything but post a giant “For Sale” sign on the Whitestone Bridge, yet still couldn’t find any takers for the enigmatic Ike Davis. Now the Mets are left Davis back and pretending that Lucas Duda is a legitimate Plan B at first base.  The only thing that keeps Alderson from getting an F here is that he didn’t trade Ike, who undoubtedly has potential, for ten cents on the dollar.

Grade: D-

Starting Rotation

This is where Alderson was at his best, nabbing a potential ace in Bartolo Colon and two cheap fifth starter options in Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan.  Colon is no Matt Harvey, which is good news for Harvey and his supermodel girlfriends, but he can still lead a staff and at the very least should fetch a good prospect at the deadline if traded.  Dice-K will probably hold down the last rotation spot until a younger option, like Mejia, Montero or even Syndergaard is ready. Lannan could be an effective long reliever and spot starter.

Grade: B+

Bullpen

Alderson only brought in Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth (who won’t make the team) to help shore up what was an atrocious bullpen, but I’ll give him somewhat of a pass due to the volatility of relievers.  Spending big money on a guy like Balfour or Rodney would block the paths of youngsters like Jeurys Familia and Vic Black, an unwise direction for a rebuilding team.  However, if Bobby Parnell is hurt and Valverde continues to show his tank is near empty, Alderson’s lack of action could prove costly.

Grade: C

Despite clearly still working under financial constraints, Alderson generally did well to improve the Mets.  Granderson and Young undoubtedly upgrade an extremely weak hitting outfield, Colon should help towards offsetting the loss of Harvey, and Dice-K, Lannan and Valverde may provide some necessary veteran depth.  However, the Ike and Tejada fiascos make it difficult to get too excited about the Mets offseason.  The stove definitely could have been hotter.

Overall Grade: C

(Photo: Jeff Roberson, AP)

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