The New York Mets are currently in a free fall. The pitching for this team has gone from bad to atrocious and there does not seem to be any sign of a turnaround. Fans can dream about a bullpen with Kelvin Herrera, or David Robertson at the back end. They can wish for a trade to get another starter like Jeremy Hellickson. But the fact is that Sandy Alderson and the Mets are going to have to do the hardest thing imaginable, which is to simply sit on their hands and wait.
Every time this team seems to have turned the corner they fall off again. This is not looking like a team that can be a World Series contender, especially with their best starting pitcher, relief pitcher, and position player on the shelf. The inclination for anyone watching is to get this team some help since it is only May and there is plenty of time to turn things around.
Last season the Mets had a stretch very similar to this one from August 9th to August 19th. During this span they had a record of 3-8 and were outscored by 29 runs as their pitching was giving up an average of 6.7 runs per game. After August 19th the Mets had a record of 60-62, but from that point on they went 27-13 in the last 40 games to make the playoffs. The point is this team has turned on a dime before and it can happen again.
With Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and Yoenis Cespedes all set to return in June the Mets have a little over two months to establish what this team is going to be. The temptation to add big pieces to this team know through the trade market must be avoided at all costs because the simple fact is that the Mets farm system is becoming thin. The front office cannot mortgage the future of 2018 and 2019 to try to help a team that is lost.
Of the eight position players that started on Opening Day this year, six of them are playing on one year deals, Asdrubal Cabrera has a team option for next year, and there is a real possibility that none of those players will be with the team next year. This was a team built to win now that is not winning and sooner or later the Mets may have to cut there losses. They need to hope that these players on one year deals can turn their season around not only so the Mets can win games, but more importantly so they will be valuable commodities at the trade deadline.
If the end of July nears and this team has not turned the corner to the point where they look like a World Series contender, than they need to make the prudent move and sell whatever they can at the deadline. Last year at the trade deadline Brian Cashman and the Yankees decided that their team, which was still in the playoff race, was not a World Series contender and they sold. In the span of a few weeks they took a thin farm system and turned it into one of the best in baseball. The Mets do not have the premier relief arms that the Yankees did that were able to fetch big hauls, but they have to consider moving anyone that is not under contract next year to revamp the farm.
One place that the Mets farm system is not week is upper level position player talent. Currently on the big league roster the Mets have Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera who are proving that they can be above average major league hitters. Waiting in Triple-A are Dominic Smith, Gavin Cecchini, and top prospect Amed Rosario. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Opening Day infield next year will could consist of those three prospects and T.J. Rivera. If the Mets decide to sell they would be wise to call of those prospects up after the deadline to get them 150 to 200 big league at-bats to see what they have for next year.
The idea of punting on a season where the Mets expected to be competitive is not intriguing, but it may be the best course of action for the future. The Mets only have this affordable starting pitching “depth” for a few more years, and they have to take advantage of it the best they can. Stockpiling assets and relying on homegrown talent has to be the priority if the veteran players currently on the roster cannot get themselves back into contention in the near future.