- Get on base. In Little League they used to tell you a walk is as good as a hit. There’s some truth in that.
- Play defense.
- Steal bases.
- Hit and run.
- Hit behind the runners.
- Stop riding the cold hand for weeks at a time just because he was good several years ago.
- Conversely, don't bench the hot hand.
- Remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Manage the bullpen accordingly.
- Not everyone who goes 0-4 in a single game must be relegated to platoon status (or benched).
- Remember, the market doesn’t always come to you. Sometimes you need to make an effort.
Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
For someone who spends a lot of time evaluating the team through a hypercritical lens, I thought I would instead talk about some of the positives that Mets fans should appreciate (perhaps more). after all, we're looking at pitchers and catchers reporting in less than three weeks.
First of all, thank you for the turnaround. When the current regime took over the club was a laughingstock and although the impatience of the fans is omnipresent, the fact is that the five year plan was a success as it resulted in a World Series appearance and then a subsequent playoff berth the following year. They went from cellar dwellers to contenders while mostly moving past the Madoff-era austerity.
Next, let’s tip our caps to the pitching staff. When healthy they have one of the finest sets of arms anywhere in the majors. The arms are what got them to climb out of the cellar. Sandy Alderson gets credit for much of it, though the much maligned Omar Minaya actually found Matt Harvey, Jacob de Grom, Steven Matz, Jeurys Familia and others. Alderson gets credit for the trades that brought in Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and drafting Michael Fulmer (who resulted in the Yoenis Cespedes trade). Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are his, too, though the jury is still out on them until we see a bigger sample.
Power is something that some people never expected to see across the board with the Mets. Last year they shattered the club record and clubbed 218 HRs. Their best total prior to that was a mere 200 a full decade ago during a 2006 first place finish in the division on the bats of Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and a fresh-faced healthy David Wright. What’s even more impressive is that the Mets were without both David Wright and Lucas Duda for most of the year, as well as missing chunks of time from other power hitters like Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Versatility has become very much in vogue in baseball. Witness the $56 million contract signed by Ben Zobrist not to play a single position but to play all over the field. This past season the Mets were in a unique position to snatch up Jose Reyes for minimum wage after being cut loose by the Colorado Rockies. Given the high regard with which the fans held Reyes the first time around the Mets were better able to withstand the potential PR nightmare of rewarding one of the first players suspended under the league’s new domestic violence policy. When the manager deigned to do so, they got excellent production out of other subs like Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera. They even got a handful of productive ABs out of Brandon Nimmo. Of course, being who he is, way too many ABs were squandered on the likes of James Loney, Alejandro De Aza, Matt Reynolds, Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell. It says a lot about the quality of the backup players that Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and T.J. Rivera all need to have monster springs to ensure they come north.
Finally, there’s credibility. In 1950 the UCLA Bruins head coach Red Saunders told people, “Winning isn’t everything. Men, it’s the only thing.” It does cure what ails you. Gone are the days when the Mets were the punchline of the late night talk shows. In 2015 the Yankees lost the wildcard and the Mets made it to the World Series. They outdrew the Mets by 600,000. Last year the Yankees didn’t make the post season and the Mets were in the wildcard. There was still a 300,000 deficit in attendance. A World Series win could reverse that trend and give the city back to the Mets. Right now it appears to be up for grabs.
Can things be improved? Sure. A few issues immediately spring to mind: