Featured Post: Charting the Remainder of the Mets 2013 Season

wright lameLarry Brooks penned a thought provoking column in the New York Post that magnifies the dilemma facing the Met front office in deciding how to play out the remainder of the 2013 season. A decent month of July baseball energized the Met faithful and made the Citi Field product a whole lot more satisfying to the palette. Yet, a reality check of any sort, especially with the loss of David Wright for an extended period of time, adds clarity to the Mets mission for the remainder of 2013.

The Mets need to be using the available time left in the season to evaluate personnel to decide who fits into the bigger picture moving forward.

That does not mean the Mets simply fold the tent and give up on the current campaign. Every game has meaning, every game should be played all out and hard, and every game should be played to win. Within that framework Brooks maintains the starting lineup should reflect the Mets purpose in using the remaining months of the season learning as much as possible about targeted personnel to build their framework for 2014.

New York Mets shortstop Ruben TejadaBrooks builds his piece around the case of former Met shortstop Ruben Tejada. Using what I call framing questions, it might be fruitful to ask, “Which shortstop, Omar Quintanilla or Ruben Tejada, has more pay value as the 2014 starting shortstop for the Mets?”

If the answer to that question is Omar Quintanilla, then it is Quintanilla whose name should be penciled in on the lineup card nearly every day. If it’s not, if the Mets feel Tejada has more future pay value, then why is Tejada manning the shortstop spot in Las Vegas rather than Citi Field?

The Brooks argument is a valid one. I love Quintanilla’s spark and passion at shortstop. But, a side-by-side comparison of Tejada and Quintanilla’s stats fall heavily on the side of Tejada. To begin with Tejada is 23 years old and Quintanilla 31. Tejada hit over .280 in two of his first three seasons in the major leagues. In eight seasons of most part time big league service Quintanilla has never batted higher than .257.

It’s possible neither Tejada or Quintanilla will be considered as part of Met long-term personnel planning. But, for the immediate, these two shortstops are the most likely guys in the organization to be on a major league roster next season. The guy on the lineup card each day should reflect the player the Mets most need to learn about, the player they feel has the best long term value. To Brook’s way of thinking, and mine, that’s Ruben Tejada.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Detroit TigersYou could use framing questions to make sense of other issues facing the Mets. The loss of David Wright could be answered in a similar way. Do the Mets believe Justin Turner or Josh Satin might have pay value as starting infielders on the 2014 team or might their be more pay value in using the time Wright spends on the DL to learn about and evaluate where Wilmer Flores might fit?

Flores wa hitting .322 with 15 HR’s and 86 RBI’s in Triple-A Las Vegas before his promotion to the Mets. Those who minimize the Flores stats because of the light air and long ball potential in the Pacific Coast League should remember the impressive numbers Flores logged in stops in St. Lucie and Binghamton last season; a combined batting average of .300 with 18 HR’s and 75 RBI’s. Do successive years of minor league production at the highest levels earn Flores a look?

Is Juan Lagares a future pieces as the center fielder of the Mets? What is the pay value of a Lucas Duda return in left field? Or perhaps, which first baseman, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda or Josh Satin figures most prominently in future Met plans?

Using framing questions takes the emotion out of decision making and adds clarity to the direction the Mets should be taking for the remainder of the season. Yes, it would be satisfying if the Mets could play one-up and one-down baseball for the remainder of the season. And, yes it would be satisfying if somehow they might catch the Nats or Phillies and at long last escape fourth place.

Yet, if the Met goal is to emerge as contenders as quickly as possible, perhaps even during the 2014 season, whether we land in third or fourth or win 70 or 75 games in 2013 has little significance. Far more important is learning as much as we can about personnel to help shape informed decisions post season to better the roster for 2014.

About John Bernhardt 162 Articles
MMO Minor League Analyst John Bernhardt is a retired public school teacher and administrator, who still coaches high school baseball. Growing up in a Yankees household, Bernhardt was an ardent Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra fan. When the Yankees fired Yogi in his first season as the Bomber manager, curiosity turned to passion when the Mets signed Berra as a player/coach and he has pulled for the Mets ever since. In retirement, John writes the sports for a local weekly, The Catskill Mountain News and hosts Tip-Off, a Friday morning sports hour, from 8:00-9:00 on WIOX, 91.3 F.M.