Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
Then the injuries which started before the season even began started coming in droves. The team went reeling and dropped quite a few games due to anemic offense and some unlikely bullpen meltdowns after a stellar start for the firemen at the beginning of the season.
The problem with the fast start is that it raised even the most cynical fan’s expectations that the team was serious about being a contender. Consequently, when problems mounted they were confident the team would do what was necessary to right the ship.
A few very positive things did happen in that regard. They promoted Noah Syndergaard before the Super Two deadline. They sent the underperforming Kirk Nieuwenhuis packing. They promoted top catching prospect Kevin Plawecki rather than shuffling some permutation of Anthony Recker and assorted wannabes. They weathered the storm of Wilmer Flores’ adjustment at shortstop and now know he’ll make most of the routine plays on a nightly basis instead of pushing the panic button.
Today, however, they took a huge step in the right direction by bringing both Danny Muno and Wilfredo Tovar from Las Vegas to Phoenix so they could hedge their bets on Daniel Murphy’s injury prognosis. Wow! That meant they coughed up an extra plane ticket unnecessarily but because they didn’t want to be shorter on an already miniscule bench. Small signs are sometimes worth celebrating, but that’s how a real team operates (even if we’re only talking about less than $200 for a round trip ticket). To Mets fans, it’s like sprouting their first chest hair of showing the faintest wisp of a mustache. The team may actually be growing up.
Of course, there’s plenty more to do and much of it has heretofore been distasteful to upper management. David Wright’s injury prognosis is the huge unknown and it’s possible he’ll miss more than half the season. Do they really feel content to have his spot held tepid by the efforts of Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell and the like? REAL TEAMS go out and get reinforcements to contend for the pennant or to fend off the competition when, on June 5th, you find yourself inexplicably in first place.
Now a lot of people are sitting there writing and talking about, “What would they do if they acquired player X and David Wright comes back?” Wow, what a nice problem to have! Think of how fat, dumb and happy people feel about having 6 starters plus Steve Matz plus Rafael Montero and eventually plus Zack Wheeler…wouldn’t it be nice to have the same comfort level on offense, too?
Without a detailed player-by-player analysis, I think most Mets fans would agree that the outfield is arguably the weakest production of any team in baseball. Throw in the mish-mash at 3B, Kevin Plawecki’s valiant but forgettable debut and you can see there’s plenty of room for improvement.
The question is will the team have the wherewithal to own up to mistakes and make the necessary moves? Hey, if the Angels could figure out a way to dump Vernon Wells on the Yankees and part ways with Josh Hamilton, anything is possible.
The flip side is the prospect game. The Mets held onto a great many of them too long (Alex Escobar, Jay Payton, Generation K, etc.) and got nothing to show for it. Right now they’re knee deep in starting pitching yet seemingly unwilling to roll the dice to trade any of it to address other needs. Granted, the preference would likely be to trade Jon Niese and/or Dillon Gee, but with the way they’re performing they are not going to fly off the shelves.
Perhaps the number one priority should shift to Bartolo Colon. Right now while his ERA is fairly ugly, the fact remains he’s striking people out, not walking anyone and leading the league in victories. His contract ends in October and the acquiring team would only be on the hook for about $7.5 million. Sell high!
What about sending Bart to the Dodgers for Alex Guerrero even up? Bart helps them push towards a pennant, 3B is given to Justin Turner until one of the farmhands is ready to step up. The Mets get a power hitting 3rd baseman (10 HRs, 26 RBIs in just 104 ABs) who earns little money and they pocket the remainder of what they would have paid Colon while opening up a spot for Steve Matz. Guerrero is owed $7.5 million per season for 2016 and 2017, but could be moved to the outfield if Wright makes a full recovery. Hell, I’d sweeten the deal with a non-elite prospect or two to help solve two Mets problems simultaneously. The Dodgers are already down Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu. They strike me more as the type of team like the Yankees used to be who would sooner get veterans than roll the dice on youngsters.
Regardless of which transactions are made and whatever players are involved, the fact remains that the time for inertia is over. Wishing and hoping for a magical return to April dominance when various people return from the DL is not how professionals plan for the future. Let’s trash can the Underoos and switch to boxers. It’s time to grow up.