I’m scrolling through my timeline on Twitter last night, when Anthony DiComo tweets out that it’s been five weeks since the Mets won consecutive games. Wow… I know the Mets have been on a rough stretch since that amazing 11-1 start, but things are really spiraling out of control now, and the numbers are really starting to get ugly wherever you look.
It’s difficult to believe that those early-April Mets are the same team that have gone 9-19 since then. How can a team that looked so dominant, so resilient, and so playoff-caliber, all of a sudden become one of the absolute worst teams in the league?
Or maybe those first 12 games were just an anomaly, and what we’ve been seeing these last six weeks are exactly who the Mets are…
Whether you’re looking at the team’s offense, pitching or defense, the arrows are all pointing downward and making matters worse are the mounting injuries which continue to plague this team regardless of all the offseason changes to their medical team and protocols.
And as I mentioned previously, even Mickey Callaway‘s managing has had me scratching my head and that was before he bumbled the lineup in Cincinnati and had several questionable bullpen decisions completely backfire on him. When we first hired him I said his lack of managing experience at any level made him a complete unknown quantity who would need a steep learning curve. And so far the other new managers in 2018, like Aaron Boone, Dave Martinez, Gabe Kapler and Alex Cora are all outpacing Callaway significantly.
Or maybe those other managers were each given better constructed rosters to work with, which then points some serious consternation and a very critical eye toward the engineer and architect of this current mess – general manager Sandy Alderson. How much of the blame for this year’s debacle lies at the feet of Sandy Alderson himself, whose long-held beliefs in building a roster are so stringent, outdated and even damning?
Maybe stocking the offense with 30-homer sluggers with low batting averages and huge strikeout rates isn’t exactly the way to go in today’s highly nuanced game. Maybe defense is a lot more important than the back-handed treatment it has always garnered from Alderson, who could always be counted on for a good eye-roll whenever the subject of defense came up. And his even worse position on the impact of speed which has suddenly become an integral part of today’s modern, well-balanced, offensive strategy.
The Mets farm system is as barren as it’s ever been in this century, and has offered little to no depth at all for a roster that was laden with too many aging, in-decline, and injury prone players.
An examination of the team’s offseason moves and strategy raises a lot of questions.
Bringing back Jay Bruce seemed like a safe bet when the Mets pounced on him with a three-year, $39 million deal. But he’s on pace for just 12 homers and 50 RBIs this season and currently sports a .668 OPS and a WAR less than zero.
The warning signs, red flags and alarms were all there to see for 35-year old Jason Vargas, who was signed to a two-year, $14 million deal after posting a 6.69 ERA, 1.598 WHIP and an opposing .904 OPS in the second half of 2017. And this was supposed to be the cure for a rotation that was in complete shambles a season ago and 4/5ths of the rotation coming back from a myriad of surgeries?
Jose Reyes has been useless in a utility role, the decision to remain status quo at catcher has backfired, A.J. Ramos has been a detriment in the bullpen, and Anthony Swarzak has yet to bear any fruit whatsoever, spending almost all of his time on the DL To be fair, I’ll give him props for Todd Frazier, a New York kind of player who was exceeding expectations before he landed on the disabled list last week. But overall, you have to give the offseason a grade of C- and that’s being generous.
Where will this Mets team be a month from now when you have to decide whether we’re buyers or sellers?
I’d love to sugarcoat everything and tell you that a big turnaround is coming and that the Mets will be back on track in very short order, but in all honesty the statistical data and all the trends say otherwise. The Nationals are the elite powerhouse of the division, the Braves and Phillies are two teams on the rise and on the path to greatness, and the Mets are certainly in decline with their window for contention quickly closing.
The real question is, do you trust Sandy Alderson or any of his lieutenants to commandeer another rebuild?
Or have you seen enough and are longing for a new and dramatic change beginning with a modern organizational philosophy? A philosophy that is all-encompassing and discards all of those old and antiquated notions and ideas that have seemingly held this franchise back from the extended and sustained run of championship caliber baseball that was promised by Sandy Alderson in the Fall of 2010, eight years ago?
I know that I’ll get crucified for even considering such a drastic debate when there’s still so much baseball to be played. But please don’t insult my intelligence by refusing to admit the same exact questions that I’ve posed here today have also crossed your mind.
The Mets rank 28th in runs scored. They have produced just one home run and a .178/.287/.255 slash out of the cleanup spot this season. In yesterday’s 12-1 loss to the Blue Jays they only had one player with over 20 RBIs in the lineup. After posting the worst defensive team in MLB last season, they already have -17 DRS and it’s only mid-May.
I’m not saying the season is over. But with the team floundering, injuries rising, and hope fading to the point that everyone is clamoring for Double-A prospect Peter Alonso to join the team and save us, you have to admit that things are getting a little too bleak, demoralizing and desperate. And it’s time to start asking the tough questions.