An MMO Fan Shot by JE
All Mets fans are naturally disappointed with the way 2017 and 2018 have turned out. After a World Series appearance in 2015 and a playoff game in 2016, this team has pretty much crashed and burned. They lost 92 games last year, and there is an excellent chance that this year will be even worse.
There is talk around Mets executives about “a quick rebuild” and becoming competitive next year. I believe this thinking is based on our starting pitching, which should provide a strong foundation. These views are nonsensical. There is practically no way for this team to contend next year and probably 2020 as well. Here’s why:
As I write this, the team stands at 36-53, with the lowest amount of wins in the league. However, if you look at how the team has done since it’s torrid 11-1 start, it’s much worse. We have not won the last 15 series, and our record since that start is 25-52, or a winning percentage of .325. If we had that percentage for an entire season, we would lose around 110 games. The offense is not bad; it’s horrendous. This is where the team stands in relation to other teams for some key offensive stats:
- Runs – 28th
- BA – 29th
- OBP – 26th
- OPS – 26th
- SB – 23rd
Now, granted, we have missed our best offensive player for a big chunk of the season, but his presence would probably not have made that big a difference.
This team is one of the worst defensive teams in baseball.
The Mets finished dead last in the MLB last year in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) with a negative 75. This is a truly terrible number. Yet, they are even worse this year! Right now, we are at negative 60. That means we are on target for a negative 109, or 45 percent worse than last year. (as an aside, the Phillies and Orioles are even worse).
Other than Todd Frazier, not a single Mets player on the current roster has a higher number than plus 1. Asdrubal Cabrera is at -16. Rosario is at -10. Dominic Smith is at -5 in only 140 innings. Over a full season of 800 innings, that translates to a -28 all by himself. This not only costs the team lots of runs, it also effects pitching staffs quite negatively. Want to understand how Jacob deGrom is only 5-4 with an ERA of 1.79 and a WHIP of .988? Now you know.
The Farm System
Our cross town rivals are a paradigm of success.
They have won more World Championships than any other team in baseball history with 27; the next closest is St. Louis with 11. However, the team has not had a losing record since 1992. This isn’t even a Yankees record. They actually had 39 consecutive winning seasons between 1926 and 1964.
For a long time, the Yankees had a “Core Four” and supplanted these players with key free agents. They have consistently been among the top payrolls in the league for quite some time. However, through some shrewd trades and player development, they now have several excellent young players.
Also, having a strong farm system allows you the luxury of trading prospects for stars, like the Red Sox did to get Chris Sale. By contrast, Sandy Alderson has developed virtually no one of any consequence. Here’s a list of the top position players that Sandy had developed in his eight year tenure:
1B: Lucas Duda
2B: Daniel Murphy (who was not drafted by Sandy and allowed to leave before his stats exploded)
SS: Ruben Tejada (Minaya signed him 2006)
3B: Justin Turner (see Daniel Murphy)
SP: Noah Syndergaard
Needless to say, there is not much there.
Thor could be great, but he has only made 18 starts in 2017-18. Our two top prospects last year (Rosario and Smith) have been less than overwhelming.
While of course they can improve, the fact that their skills are still so raw is a poor reflection of the Mets development skills. I do not see either player ever being an elite defensive player.
Their hitting skills are not much better. As this seems to consistently be the pattern with this team, I do not have a lot of hope for supposed future stars like Jeff McNeil or Peter Alonso. I hope I’m wrong.
This topic has been covered before so there’s no reason to go into much detail here. Suffice it to say, Sandy Alderson had a very poor off season; perhaps one of the worst in history. In retrospect, he could have done better sticking a pen in a paper.
The Mets entered 2018 with a roughly median payroll of $154 million.
Although this is somewhat misleading as David Wright makes up $20 million of it, it’s still enough money to build a decent team.
It’s worth noting that the powerhouse Yankees are only $14 million higher.
More to the point, three of the teams that have been rebuilding, the Braves, Phillies and Brewers are all substantially below the Mets in payroll; yet are miles ahead of us in terms of the standings.
This team is poorly constructed. Even if they were to trade off key players, most of them are not worth much. Which brings me to…
This poorly constructed team has very little of value to other teams in the trading market. If they are not going to move Thor or deGrom, what value is there? Cabrera? He’s a good hitter but he’s a terrible defensive player.
Familia? He’s at best a mediocre closer now.
Cespedes? Huge contract and he’s always hurt.
Bruce, Vargas and Swarzak have essentially no value. I can’t see the Mets moving guys like Lugo, Conforto or Nimmo. Why would you move young players with real upside?
Therefore, the only players that you could move that could bring in something would be Matz and Wheeler.
They are still young and have potential, and every team needs starting pitching. However, neither pitcher has shown to be durable. In the last two years, Matz has only averaged 17 starts/year. Wheeler did not pitch for 2 years and seems to be constantly hurt. Although neither is a game changer, they would have decent value to other teams.
This is one of worst bullpens in baseball. Other than Lugo and Familia, there is not one pitcher who can consistently get opposing batters out. We need a complete overhaul.
In retrospect, you have a weak team without much to trade. Even were the Wilpons suddenly willing to spend, I doubt you could even spend your way out of this. Suppose the Mets decided to somehow sign Harper or Machado in the off season. Would the team be better? Sure. Would they be 20 games better? No shot.
There is really no way this team has any sort of path to contention in the short run. Sandy’s dream of sustained success is a pipe dream. Based on the current contracts and farm system, one could argue that this team might be worse shape today than it was when Sandy took over. What to do?
Of course, I would love for the Wilpons to sell. However, I’m assuming that doesn’t happen. The only answer is a complete rebuild.
I would get rid of the entire front office, as all of them bear some responsibility for this mess. I would also get rid of Callaway and let the new GM choose his guy. Look for some hot assistant GMs from other teams.
Rebuild the farm system. Teach the youngsters good fundamentals, including baserunning and bunting. Dump all the bad contracts for prospects. Spend money on scouting. If it’s dome right, the Mets can be relevant again by 2021.
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