MMO Fan Shot: Why Bryce Harper to Mets is No Gift

An MMO Fan Shot by Chris

In this era of fake news, getting the real scoop, or even a very balanced, nonbiased assessment of any mainstream issue is something of a fantasy. The pro-Harper spin from many writers for MetsMerized Online is just another example.

The Mets have shown no real interest in Bryce Harper, or Manny Machado for that matter, and I am going to go over several reasons why this is for good reason. Mets fans should have a very clear understanding of who and what Bryce Harper is a player, since they have watched him play at least 18 times a season for the last seven years, minus any time he has missed due to injury, which leads to the first reason the Mets really aren’t that interested. He has failed to be a real nemesis to the Mets over the years due to his injury history as much as anything else.

Strike One: Lacks durability

Over the last 7 seasons, Bryce Harper has played in 150 games or more exactly twice. If you, and your representation, are going to ask for $30M a year, shouldn’t you have a track record of playing at a high level in at least 90% of the games? The facts are he struggles to stay on the field, and this is in his 20’s when his health should be at its peak. His hyper-aggressive style doesn’t seem to help, and it won’t age particularly well either.

The Mets spent a small fortune on another player with questionable playing history, Yoenis Cespedes. How’s that working out for them? Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The greatest ability is availability, and Bryce has missed work enough to make his lack of durability and health Strike One.

Strike Two: Not exactly Mr. October

Another trait I am looking for before I throw all the money at a player is their ability to make a team a playoff threat year-after-year, and produce when you get to October. The Nationals history of getting to the playoffs isn’t bad, getting to “The Dance” four out of seven years. I’m not going to give him too much credit for that, but he certainly is helping in that effort. This credit is nullified if production is limited once you reach the postseason, and this clearly happens to Bryce Harper. During his four trips to the playoffs, Bryce has a .211 batting average and a OPS of .801.

Again, these numbers are not what I want to see when spending $30M a year. This reminds me of the great Kelly Bundy, of “Married with Children,” who said to her brother, Bud on day, “You have caviar tastes and a pizza face!” If he was on the market for, say, $20M a year, ok, that might cut it, maybe. For $300M, or anywhere near that? No.

Strike Three: Doesn’t work for the Mets over the long-term

The Mets have already invested heavily in an untradeable Yoenis Cespedes, and are looking at a future big nine-figure deal for Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, or both. How many nine-figure deals do you really think the Wilpon family are going to make at one time?

Look at it this way. How many $150M+ deals actually work out, for any MLB team, much less the dark cloud that sits so nicely over Flushing, Queens? Start with Clayton Kershaw, which gets them into the postseason, but also earns them loses whenever he hits the mound in October. Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in Anaheim haven’t netted the Angels any success. Matt Kemp. Alex Rodriguez. Carlos Beltran. My point is buying at the top of the baseball market doesn’t have a high success rate when it comes to winning in October or getting a return on investment.

Also, in the Mets case, bringing in Harper means someone like Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto becomes the odd man out. Which one is rocking the bench? I believe both are finally ready to produce plenty of fruit, and now is not the time to bring in a vegetable like Harper. That just makes the last 3-5 years invested in those two players a waste. I honestly see more upside from those two than I do from Bryce Harper.

Yes, the Mets are short an outfielder until Yoenis Cespedes returns, and that should be after the All-Star Break. Again, Nimmo and Conforto together should outperform Bryce Harper, and Lagares’ defense also would be superior to anything Harper does on that side as well. I’m not interested in the Mets spending $300M because they’re using their fourth OF for the first three months.

This also leads to other problems Harper has in not really deserving top-of-the-market salary, including his defense, which is…less than stellar, being kind. He is also not great at making adjustments to good pitching, as when Mets pitchers throw up in the zone, he is effectively neutralized, and if you pitch around him, he gets himself out, and his average plummets. He is shockingly easy to pitch to.

Some of these issues apply to Manny Machado as well. He is even worse in the postseason, with an OPS in the .650 range, and he has built a reputation for either not hustling, or engaging in “dirty play.” His intangibles are generally
poor, at least to this point. Bryce Harper has him beat in a couple of ways.  I don’t have as big of a problem with acquiring Machado because I believe he won’t command $30M a year, and he is a stud at 3B, a massive cavity for years since David Wright’s prime years ago. He would make more sense at five years, $100 million on the Mets. I would have no real problem with that. That’s a far better deal, if unlikely to happen in the real world. I’m not seeing a flurry of interest in overpaying for Machado, either.

In conclusion, if Bryce Harper were in that price range, that is more what he deserves, and it won’t impact future investment in players I actually want on the team like Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom who are much closer to deserving $30M a year. Rumor has it that the Dodgers seem most likely to land Harper, and that is just fine with me, and makes sense given their payroll history.

If the Mets took the team GM Brodie has built to this point, and went forward with that, it would be a smart, intelligent approach to the 2019 season without overreaching themselves into bad deals that will handcuff the team, long-term. I want the Mets to get better, year after year, and the Mets are considerably better over last year. Plus, I don’t see the Braves, Phillies or Nationals being 90 win teams for 2019, so the division is there for the taking.

The Mets have enough talent, today, to compete for the East, and I’m ready to go for it. Don’t be a greedy Mets fan. That never ever works out.

So forget about what Black Dynamite calls “Hype Harper.” Unless he’s coming for five years and $100M, no thank you. He can go to LaLa and I’m not worried about facing him, next October. Jake and Co. will walk right through him, when the time comes.

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This Fan Shot was written and contributed by MMO community member and die-hard Mets fan Chris. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Send your article to GetMetsmerized@aol.com or use this Contact Form. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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