Three Years Into New Mets Era, But What’s Changed?

mets-marlins-baseball - CopyStrike up the band, the Mets pulled one out in the final game of the Marlins series to avoid getting swept by the worst team in baseball. I don’t need to tell you this, but being a Mets’ fan is about being disappointed, frustrated and angry. It shouldn’t have to mean being betrayed.

After the disappointment of the Omar Minaya Era, which was highlighted by bad contracts – but at least he was signing people – the Mets were promised a new day with the hiring of Sandy Alderson as general manager.

Alderson vowed things would be different, and to be fair, they have been as worse as different.

“Be patient,’’ Alderson said, telling us it takes time to scuttle a team and rebuild with youth. Three years into the Alderson regime and the Mets still don’t have a bullpen, don’t have a major league outfield, the back end of their rotation is patchwork and there’s little depth.

Remember, Alderson was brought here – at the suggestion of commissioner Bud Selig – to get the Mets’ financial house in order. To that degree, he’s done well, shedding the Mets of the contracts of Oliver PerezLuis CastilloFrancisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran.

Alderson got prospect Zack Wheeler for Beltran, but little else other than a fresh feeling for the removal of Perez and the others. After this season, he will be done with the contracts of Johan Santana and Jason Bay, the two remaining contracts given out in the Minaya Era. But, make no mistake, they were done so with the blessings of the Wilpon ownership.

To date, none of Alderson’s draft picks are producing on the major league level. Few of his trade acquisitions outside of John Buck have contributed, and the Mets remain the mess that prompted the management changes in the first place.

The only real difference is the Mets are losing with a lesser payroll. Is that really progress?

If you’re a Mets’ fan this morning, you have to feel betrayed by what you saw the first month of the season, especially with what has happened during this last series losing two games to the lowly Marlins. You feel betrayed because you bought into Alderson’s promises of better times to come and the spending during the winter of 2014.

Tuesday night might have been the worst loss of the season.

After the Mets received eight scoreless innings from journeyman pitcher Jeremy Hefner – penciled in as a Triple-A starter going into spring training – their bullpen again collapsed. That’s three blown saves in two games.

It is easy to blame that one on third base umpire Tim McClelland’s blown call, but that’s only part of the reason why they lost.

They lost because their offense continues to be pathetic. While the onus has fallen on Ike Davis’ woes, he’s not the only one. The Mets had only one hit in their last 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position going into yesterday’s finale. The offense is dormant, and a lot of that stems from the fact they have no outfield.

Building a team is acquiring depth, but Anthony Recker had three bad plays in the ninth inning that led to the unraveling. Recker took accountability, saying he should have caught the pitch that turned into a passed ball; should not have made the throw to third, which became necessary in his mind because of the passed ball; and should have blocked Brandon Lyon‘s wild pitch.

Recker was stand-up about his performance, but he’s a Double-A catcher performing in the major leagues. He’s here because the Mets did such a poor job of building their bench.

And, why was Lyons in the game to begin with?

Bobby Parnell is the closer and should have gotten the ball at the start of the ninth. That was the formula, so why did manager Terry Collins deviate?

He said he didn’t want to burn out Parnell. Damn it, what are you saving him for, the World Series?

If he’s the closer, then he needs to go two or three games in a row like closers often do. That he threw two innings the night before is avoiding the issue. Either Collins has faith in Parnell or he doesn’t. Parnell should have gotten the ball.

The Mets are making too many mental mistakes, not executing with runners on base and keep missing opportunities to tack on runs and lengthen their lead. Maybe it’s because Collins doesn’t have the right pieces, and if that’s the case then it falls on the front office.

Why do you think the Mets don’t post their line-up until moments before first pitch during the Marlins series? It is because Collins didn’t know what pieces he’d have and if they’d fit.

Collins couldn’t rest David Wright, who has a stiff neck and played in all three games.He also has to figure out where Ike Davis would do the least amount of damage. Davis batted seventh in the last two games, quite simply, because he has little other options on this level.

It is Alderson’s responsibility to give Collins those options. It is Alderson’s responsibility now that streamlining the budget has been addressed, of putting a representative team on the field.

So far, he hasn’t.

Thoughts from Joe D.

Three years in and as John states we’re still losing but now doing it with a smaller payroll. The inability to build a better bullpen than the ones we had and complained about in 2009 (3.89 ranked 11th) and 2010 (3.59 ranked 9th) were pointed out in a recent comment thread. The Mets have been ranked 29th and 30th since that time. Even when our best option Bobby Parnell takes the mound, it’s no sure thing. We have no sure things in that pen.

However it may be the outfield that is the biggest indictment on this front office. I say that because it used to be one of the top producing outfields in the National League even with the misadventures of Jason Bay. Who wouldn’t gladly accept the production of a Bay, Beltran and Pagan outfield over anything we’ve seen this year and last? Is it safe to say that Collin Cowgill is clearly not the player he was portrayed to be? The gritty, balls-to-the-wall center fielder who was going to solve all our leadoff woes in the lineup? The outfield is a mess and what compounds the issue is the continuing folly of not giving Jordany Valdespin a full 20-25 game shot at everyday play rather than the selective drips and drabs of playing time he currently gets.

Congratulations to Ike Davis and Lucas Duda for being among the team leaders in walks – 33 bases on balls between the two of them. – and yet only 8 RBI each from them to go with them. Not exactly what you’d expect from your number four and five hitters. Valdespin has outproduced them in far less playing time. It may be time to ship Ike Davis to the minors and platoon Duda at first with my second-cousin Josh Satin. Duda nearly cost the team yesterday’s win with yet another misjudged fly ball that flew over his left shoulder and allowed two runs to score.

The backend of the rotation is an enigma. You never know what you’re gonna get and the team is something crazy like 3-14 when one of them pitches. But that should come as no surprise after our biggest free agent signing of the offseason was Shaun Marcum who already has missed a month and lasted only four innings in his Mets debut. He’ll try to redeem himself tomorrow against the the first place Braves.

While we’re visiting Turner Field, we’ll get to see Justin Upton and his MLB leading 12 home runs and .722 Slugging up close and personal. He’s the outfielder that apparently couldn’t hit outside of Chase Field and was labeled a bust. Zack Wheeler for that 25 year old bum? No freaking way. After only one month, his 2.2 WAR is already higher than the Mets outfield combined. No not this year’s, silly, last year’s.

Hey… there are a two bright notes in Matt Harvey and Jon Niese. Those two are definitely worth the price of admission although by the looks of it, the ballpark is still only half full when they are on the mound. And don’t forget John Buck who has been nothing short of amazing and is leading the league in RBI. However don’t grow too attached to him because as recent history dictates, leading the league in anything noteworthy is usually an indication that your time as a Met is drawing to an end. Although I must say it has been a joy to finally have a real catcher behind the plate. It seems like a century ago since we last had one in Paul LoDuca.

Don’t forget that we still have that one great constant in David Wright. He’s ours through 2020 and as long as he’s on the team the potential for something great happening is always there. Every time our captain takes the field he’s either extending or breaking a franchise record. How many teams can say they have a player like that?

So there’s your April break down so far. Are you having fun yet? Are you excited about May? I told you the Mets would get off to a great start in April because of all the below .500 teams they were slated to play. Piece of cake…

Depth? What depth?

About John Delcos 577 Articles
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 30 years, including 18 in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I also covered the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians before that. Today I am a freelance writer and social director for several media outlets and a Senior Editor for Metsmerized Online.