As anyone who's read my missives knows by now, I was an unabashed supporter of our offensive subs as soon as spring training started.  I wanted them to get their shot, strut their stuff.   Be difference makers.

The subs promptly made me look good, proceeding to tear up spring training, and most then ended up in Vegas, where they tore it up some more.  For instance, Johnny Monell was terrific all spring and even more terrific in Vegas. 
Bring them up, I wrote, implying that the answer to Met offensive woes would be found in these frustrated fellas, who only needed a chance to show how awesome they are.  And we needed quick answers, what with David Wright playing in 8 of the first 51 games, and d’Arnaud only 11 of 51. 

Well, it became clearer over the first two months how valuable truly talented starting position layers are, and what a “Great Divide” can exist in terms of performance for those wannabes.

No better way to portray the subs' futility than this: 

Thor, Nurse, Matz, deGrom and Colon are 16 for 70 on the season. Nice at .229.  

Mayberry, Niewenhuis, Muno, Ceciliani, and Monell?  After Sunday's game, 14 for 134, a robust .104.  Not a typo, folks.  Pitchers' average is more than twice as high.  

And of course, the bleeding does not stop there.  Soup Campbell?  In free fall at .179 after 84 at bats  And Kevin Plawecki has filled in capably during d'Arnaud's absence, but he sits at .213 after at 94 bats.  He’ll hit better later, but he is what he is now.  

And of course let's not forget Sub-Mendoza Recker, hitting .176, and .196 career.  

The lot of them (eight guys, which is a whole lot) are 55 for 346, an unbelievably retched .158 with a terrible 107 K's.  Without Plawecki, they are .138.  

Reading all that, one wonders how the team is 4 games over.500. Miraculous. 

Boy if they could have only kept den Dekker, right? The one we had to give up when we needed Jerry Blevins.  Well, Matt is hitting just .230, with a .289 slug %, with the Nats' AAA affiliate.  What would that translate into on the big league level?  Not much. 

Part of this may go back to a character issue.  Mets emphasize character (see Recker) over performance, and hope the performance will follow. 

Two examples.  The Mets could have kept Justin Turner, but someone did not like him, more than likely because they did not care for his liveliness, so off he went.  Annoying guy who is a decent hitter – let’s opt to dump him, right?  Well, in 387 at bats with the Dodgers since he left the Mets, he is hitting an incredible .331, with a .501 slug %.  How would the Mets be doing with that kind of professional bat?  

What about Nelson Cruz, whom they passed on due to steroids, some character issues, not all around enough.  So the Mets passed on him when they could have had him “cheap” in 2014.  Well, all Nelson Cruz has done in the past year and a third is hit 58 homers (plus 42 other extra base hits), knock in 146 runs, and hit .286.  “But Cruz does not fit the Mets mold, so we’ll take a pass.  After all, we have Kirk Nieuwenhuis in our system, so why, when no one else wants him as the 2014 season approaches, would we want to sully ourselves to snap up this bargain?”  

We coulda had ourselves a Cruz ship, we settled for a fleet of sinking subs.
The Mets are nearly a third of the way through this season.  The real Wright may be the historical one now; we may never see the real David again.  The Mets need offensive help.  Until Herrera comes back, there is none in sight, and Dilson is so young, there is no guarantee he'll help much when he returns.  He may have growing pains, too.   

Answer? Well, I'd keep Matz and Thor, period.  Both are exciting.  Both can hit, too.

I’d trade Gee and Niese to the team that can give us the best bats.  Thirteen teams have ERAs over 4.00, somebody ought to need these guys, and some have to have some decent surplus hitters.  Sweeten it with guys like Reynolds to get a better player.  You may not get much, but 14 for 134 is not only putrid, it is bound to derail this team if it continues.   Get a few guys acquainted with .250.

Unless, of course, Colon, Thor and Jake keep getting big hits at the plate! 

So, what would you do to fix this “Sub Par Sub” mess?


IBfromWhitePlains said...

I was crying out for the bench to be strengthened all winter and it's evident that you can't fill a roster with AAAA ballplayers. Period.
This is Alderson's M.O. and it's a product of the team's inability to spend. The answer is, IMO, be willing to put guys with higher salaries on the bench. When I think of those (Damn)Yankee benches I drool. Good teams do that.

And teach these guys how to lay down a bunt! Sheesh!!

Reese Kaplan said...

Some of the blame has to go on the manager. Monell was red hot in AAA, then got hemorrhoids from sitting on the bench in the majors. Ditto Muno. Monell got a whopping 16 ABs and was written off as a failure. Muno in two stints has only gotten 14.

I can't blame Alderson for Mayberry who has mashed lefties throughout his career. Hey, he's the one not getting it done. How is that Alderson's fault?

I applaud them for finally severing ties with Nieuwenhuis who got ample time to prove what he could do and never amounted to much more than a wooden fan.

Now if you want to blame some stuff on Alderson, you're on target with Recker. Hopefully the Nieuwenhuis termination was a portent of things to come, but people need to show a little more patience with newcomers and not just rely on the familiar. We're not all Terry Collins, you know :)

Mack Ade said...

IB/Reese -

As I keep pointing out, these are the cards we are dealt with... there are no more major league ready 'bats in our system and no team has DFAd anyone worth us taking a look at.

We won't get a +1 on the bench when d'Arnaud comes back because you can't bat the backup catcher as a pinch hitter

Yes, we will gain a bench player (Tejada) when right comes back...

Right now, I'm starting to really worry about Lagares. He needs a couple of weeks rest.

Thomas Brennan said...

To Reese's point about sitting hot call ups, why not play Ceciliani again tonite?

He had a hit last night, Jake spoke positvely about his fielding, stole a bag... see if another game will yield good results. Grandy could use a day off. Part of the problem was these guys getting called up when Wright and Travis injured so early. Out of NY spotlight, give Darrell another shot. Let's say Darrell does well...sit Lagares a game or two if he is banged up and play Darrell.

It might just be what is needed for Juan.

When Monell got called up, Recker should have sat. But he did not play, and seems dumb of Collins to call hot guys up and sit them.

No one down on the farm in AAA OR AA that swings a bat for a living is hitting at all, so no one to call up. Boyd and Cecchini hitting, but too soon to think about them.

Hobie said...

Bench implication (not including trades):

D'Arnaud returns--Pawlecki returns to AAA, Recker released for LHB Monel. Mack is correct about not using lone back-up catcher as ph, but if Camppbell is capable of filling role as EMERGENCY catcher (which is not the same thing as "back-up" catcher) than Johnny M/TdA are avail as ph when not starting.

Dilson returns--Tejada becomes UT INF (could play as much as 1G at 2B, 1G SS, 1G 3B every week). Muno sent down in oerder to keep Campbell (see above).

Wright reutuens--plays LF. One of Grandy/Cuddy is ph No.1 5th OF is Cecliani by default. Mayberry released/traded.

Bench: Cuddyer/Granderson, Ceciliani, Tejada, Campbell, Monel.

Thomas Brennan said...

Not bad, Hobie, if Wright in fact comes back and if in fact he can play LF.

don't mind Darrell going back down - he could use more AAA time. I'd trade Gee and/ or Nurse and get a hitter(s)

Thomas Brennan said...

Wright has been a 3B only, except in a few emergencies, his whole major/ minor league career. Doubt he'd switch mid season. Be nice if we had a DH.0

Mack Ade said...

The reports out of the mash tent were pretty good yesterday.

P Vic Black seems ready.

P Rafael Montero is now pitching off the mound ad we should see him in rehab games real soon. Montero would probably be the second potential bullpen pitcher back (or the Mets could chose to return him to the Vegas rotation).

Next up could be 2B Dilson Herrera who has had the split removed, is taking ground balls, and is taking BP. He would too take a certain amount of rehab games I don't know if the Mets would use him as a starter or someone coming off the bench but he would be a welcomed replacement to Danny Muno.

IBfromWhitePlains said...

Reese - If you're comment is a response to mine, I'm not "blaming" anybody. I'm just pointing out that Wilpon/Alderson have never invested in their bench - and I think the Mayberry signing was excellent, finally, for a change. But, that's not enough. There were good, veteran ballplayers out there in the offseason that would have cost more, like Mayberry, but would also have given the team some strength off the bench. I watch kids like Muno and Ceciliani and Monell and I know the guy on the mound is very OK having them in the batter's box. That's just my intuition. No science here.

It's a tough game to get right. Investment helps. I don't spend my time "blaming" managers or front offices.

Anonymous said...

Mets didn't sign Cruz because of money, and I think money was a factor in Turner too. For my part, I sure didn't have him sitting at .330 with a .500 SLG for the Dodgers.

I don't think these were citizenship moves, I think they were financial.

Ceciliani's one hit last night -- his 3rd overall -- was a ball that any average CF catches. Playing him more isn't the solution; finding a real, quality 4th OF, on the other hand, might help.

I still like Recker -- and wish he would play more.

James Preller

Mack Ade said...

You are right about Cruz... EVERYTHING the Mets do is about the financials.

I think it's nice that players like DC and Danny Muno get a call up during times others are injured, but they do not have the kind of talent that will make them either a full time starter at the major league level or someone that can come off the bench and deliver.

The Mets problems in 2015 were the selection of players chosen for certain roles.

John Mayberry and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, on paper, looked like the right utility outfielders. Both failed.

Ruben Tejada was supposed to be a utility infielder, not a starter.

And Michael Cuddyer was another attempt to create a middle of the lineup hitter from the bargain basement floor... sort done as a favor to Wright.

Add to this the injuries and the disappointment of Lagares so far, and I'm thrilled to be tied for first...

Wait a minute... it's 4:12pm... are we still tied?

Reese Kaplan said...

The less the team sees of Recker, the better off they'll be. He should have followed Nieuwenhuis out the door.

And props to Tom for the quote of the week, "...and seems dumb of Collins to call hot guys up and sit them"

Thomas Brennan said...

The dialogue today has been anything but sub-par. Thanks all. Let's hope the sub suddenly surfaces.

eraff said...

Thomas, you've gone from predicting 900 runs to crashing through the bottom end of despair... I want to help you gain some reality.

The team is flawed, but some of this is fixable. Herreras return and d'Arnaud's return deepens the talent pool. Wright's return to some semblance of production does the same.

Granted, we're talking about offensive faults here, but there are some high impact arms to re-inforce the effort---Syndergaard is already here. Matz and Montero are on the horizon. Some of the returning injured and banned releivers are on the way back as well.

In the next two weeks Mayberry needs some regular ab's---need to decide whether he can or cannot contribute, and his ab's have been irregular--- fish or cut bail with him.

The pitching talent, such as Gee and Niese may be tradeable for a Bench Bat--- a fourth Of'er....and maybe a 5th OF'er/CF'er, if Lagares doesn't correct or get healthy.

A Guy Like Mitch Moreland is in Texas---They're at the top of the league in Runs...at the bottom Pitching.... that's the kind of guy who would help.

Another "move" might be to eventually make Murphy a wandering glove---YES.. LF, and all IF Positions...and a Potent Bench Bat---and I'm not buying that he can't play left field---especially because he ALSO can't play 2b or 3b very well.

There are some additional bumps alomg the way, but there is opportunity.

ZachBoyer said...

That idea itself is totally out of LF! As bad as Murphy is in the infield, he's substantially worse in the OF. The left field version of Murphy—which existed and failed spectacularly a few seasons ago—makes 2B Murph look like a leading candidate for a Gold Glove. Please don't say that?

Steve from Norfolk said...

Yep, Murph's best position was 1B - the one position he could play well.

I still think that when all is said and done, our best solution will be to make Wright a supersub - he can still move well enough to play SS in an emergency, and he still has enough speed to play the corner OF positions. 2B would take some practice on the footwork, and 1B shouldn't be a problem for him. we'd be able to get him at least 400 AB, which is probably all he'll get anyway, with the rest his back will need.

Stubby said...

I really get tired of all the Recker bashing. He's your back-up catcher; he's not supposed to hit, he's supposed to catch. Put ALL of the others in a big bag--d'Arnaud, Plawecki, Monell, etc. Recker is the best catcher of the bunch. That's what he's there for--so, in any given situation where you have to toss him into the mix, the pitchers will be comfortable and the baserunners won't run wild. Recker is actually the only bench piece that fits and does what its supposed to. To hear the talk around here, you'd throw somebody back there who has no clue about catching just hoping that a guy who is supposed to play once a week might hit .270. It's like some people around here have never followed baseball at all.

eraff said...

100% correct Stub... I believe Plawecki is a little buried---he's gonna have a very nice career... as for the GREAT JONNY MONELL--- the guy is a 236 lifetime MILB player, NOT a Team Maker.

Mack Ade said...

Stubby -

I actually agree with you though I do ask for you to tone it down a little regarding the people that leave comments here.

I can't think of a worse job in baseball than being a backup catcher. My problem is I just don't know what to do with Plawecki when d'Arnaud gets back. He really is done with AAA.

Yes, he could be packages with a young pitcher to get either a new starting corner outfielder... or catcher... or third baseman... but is Alderson really going to do that? You know he's not going to DFA Cuddyer or Granderson. You also know he can't throw the Captain out the door. And frankly, Flores is starting to look like he will pay dividends.

No, I keep saying the same thing...

This is your 2015 Mets and Plawecki will probably go back to Las Vegas until September comes and the rosters expand.

But, you are right in my opinion. A backup catcher is supposed to first, catch, and Recker does this very well.

eraff said...

I believe Plaw needs a "time out" at AAA... he's getting blown out right now, and I think it's wearing on him. Maybe he's pressing so much to stay.

I do see a 700 plus ops hitter and decent receiver under the Rookie Slump. I believe he'll be back as a permanent piece before the year ends...again, I'm assuming he goes back down.

Mack's Mets © 2012