The Elusive Silver Lining To Recent Mets Tumble

Bartolo, colon

On Wednesday, I took to twitter and ranted out some brief frustrations following another brutal loss. In the Mets world of nosediving back into irrelevance, the Twitter-verse was ablaze with angry fans whose fingers collectively pointed at a lethargic ownership and their unwillingness to change even a single thing about this team. It got me wondering… Is this what we’ve needed all along?

Let me be clear. I would much, much rather have 11 game winning streaks and surging players and comebacks galore.

But none of those things would change the fact that the medical staff has no clue what they’re doing. It would give Sandy even more excuses to do the minimum. It would make Terry look like a genius.

But worst of all, it would only push the Wilpons into the shadows because “Hey, the team is finally winning so they must be doing something right.” And don’t pretend you didn’t see comments like that in April.

It’s clear that the talent on this team is either not ready or not ever going to develop, so any playoff run the Mets may have made would merely have been akin to the 2013 Red Sox: purely riding on emotion, extremely good luck, and a couple of scattered hot streaks.

It would have pushed all of our unavoidable problems back for another year. And if you want my opinion, I don’t think the Mets could have made it to the World Series, even if they did secure a playoff berth.

As Gary Cohen said Thursday and then Nelson Figueroa echoed in the post game, “teams that are this bad on the road, don’t get very far in the postseason even if they’re somehow lucky to make it that far.”

There’s just too many things wrong right now. Too many inconsistencies, too many poor decisions, too many missed opportunities to score runs, and far too many errors of execution and errors on the field.

The Mets are a one trick pony – they have extraordinarily elite-level starting pitching. And as the last three weeks have shown, phenomenal pitching performances alone is not enough to sustain prolonged success and victories.

And that’s what this complete collapse is showing. The true colors of the Mets are still a dull black and white rather than the vibrant orange and blue. This is all exemplified by three things: ownership, management and the medical/training staff.

*Jul 28 - 00:05*

The Wilpon’s seeming absence from team matters is incredible; I mean, the last time any Wilpon was interviewed was, like, three years ago. They’ve made ducking reporters an art form.

They refuse to give any clear indication about the financial state of the Mets or what exactly Sandy Alderson has to work with. It’s a mystery.

They are too money-happy to fire anybody besides a hitting coach here and there; because replacing them more would take too much time, effort, and money.

They refuse to do ANYTHING of significant stature. The unfortunate reality is that the MLB cannot force them out as owners because they haven’t broken any laws or MLB rules. They are our cross to bear.

A couple of Sandy’s poor decisions as a GM have been exposed in Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson; granted, he was never given much to begin with, but he didn’t exactly make stellar moves with what he had.

Sure, the trade for Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard trade was brilliant, and getting Dilson Herrera for a retired catcher and a guy nearing the end of his career was another tremendous trade as well. But aside from that, what else has Sandy done? Particularly at the MLB level?

dillon gee

He failed to deal Dillon Gee and Jon Niese when they had value and there was legitimate interest in them. But the tragedy this season might be that he waited far too long to make a move when the ship began taking on water. The Mets had a brilliant chance to get a good lead in a very weak division, but they never capitalized on it and that’s a shame. Now that lead has vanished and the team stands at .500.

Sandy has bolstered up the farm system, and in the Spring he preached that 2015 was the year. But he must have known that the team lacked quality depth, he’s a maverick after all. Didn’t he realize the dearth of major league ready position players in his own system and that the good ones were still at least a year away?

According to Adam Rubin, other GMs are reluctant to trade with Sandy because his offers are never equitable. It would seem to me that if Rubin is accurate, having a GM that nobody wants to negotiate with is a severe handicap for a team who says they are in contention.

Finally, the medical and training staff. Oh boy, what a disaster. Let’s start with the recently overhauled strength and conditioning staff. They were touted as “game-changers” employing modern strengthening techniques, enhanced agility exercises, targeted conditioning drills, and even personalized nutrition planning, all taking place in a newly constructed state of the art facility at the Mets complex in Port St. Lucie.

Memo to Mike Barwis and Ray Ramirez: The Mets have lost more days to the disabled list this season than any other team in major league baseball. How is that even possible?

We all knew Ray Ramirez was terrible for years, but what about the team doctors who seemingly cannot diagnose any player injuries correctly? From Zack Wheeler to David Wright and everyone in between, they say one thing and then a week or two later they drop a bombshell that it was much worse than initially reported. I’m sorry, but that happens way too often with this team. Way too often.

Words cannot express how livid I was when we were told one minute that d’Arnaud would be in the starting lineup, and then before I could even blink an eyelash he’s out of the lineup and on the DL. How could you miss something like that so badly?

michael cuddyer

Anyway, let’s wrap this up and put it all into a hypothetical perspective.

Say the Mets never got plagued with injuries; nobody even thinks twice about the medical staff. Cuddyer and Granderson aren’t all stars, but at the very least, they perform decently; Sandy is a genius. The team is 15 games above .500 and in first place; Terry Collins is manager of the year. Mets are winning with Flores at shortstop; told you middle infield defense isn’t important. Fans are flooding Citi Field; the Wilpons are laughing all the way to the bank and hide deeper in the shadows.

An overachieving Mets team would not change the fact that the Wilpons are unresponsive and inept. It would not make the medical staff any better. It would not mean that Terry Collins is some kind of managerial wizard, and it certainly wouldn’t make Sandy more urgent in responding to the team’s in-season concerns. It would merely push all of these issues back for another year or so.

So if there’s a silver lining to this 1-7 road trip and falling out of first place and settling into a mere .500 record, it’s that we learned who these Mets really are and exposed some significant issues that we can now address.

No, of course this tailspin is terrible. No, I am not happy that this is occurring. Yes, I would rather have a contending team than a bad team.

But now that this inevitable plummet happened, the closer we could potentially be to solving all of the now-apparent myriad of problems that this team has.

Maybe it’s all a stretch of assumptions in order to numb the pain of the disappointment, but hey, that’s what ya gotta do when you’re a Mets fan.

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About Stephanie Sheehan 38 Articles
Hi there! I'm Stephanie, a second-semester journalism and communications student. I have been cheering for the Mets ever since I could talk, and I take pride in being the resident Mets freak among my peers and in my family. From pennant races to seasons in the cellar, I'm cheering for (and also swearing at) the Metsies no matter what. If you enjoy a good stream-of-consciousness feed of tweets on your timeline, you can follow me at @whutyearisit.