Year of Decision
Posted by Richard Herr at 10:00 AM
Year to Go For It
Year of Decision
Year of Decision
This is the fifth in this series. I am not only doing an assessment of each player’s coming year, but also charting what should happen with them when 2018 rolls around and we start thinking about that year’s roster.
This posting covers:
Terry Collins - Lots of people really hate Terry because of his game time decisions, and I can understand that. That’s where his weaknesses are displayed for everyone to see. However, they are the things that least affect the club. I want to start with his two strengths. The first one is that he can change. He’s not the curmudgeon he was with the Angels and the Astros. (Maybe it had something to do with their nicknames both starting with the letter “A.”) The direct result of that is the second thing: he’s got a very happy clubhouse. Of course I also give a lot of credit for that to David. But where would the Mets be if Bartolo Colon hadn’t turned down more money to come here and pitch again? There was also someone else who gave up more money because he was happy here. I think his name was Cespedes. The second-and-a-half strength that he has (Okay, there are three.) is he keeps the press at bay. He frequently stands up and takes one for the team. Which, of course, leads to the clubhouse being happier.
Okay, let’s talk about his weaknesses. The one that drove me crazy, and was harmful to the team was the way he used his left-handed reliever in the first years. He seemed to have only one good one, so he’d use him as often and somebody would use two relievers. The following year, when they came up with another good lefty, last year’s guy had his arm attached to his shoulder by duct tape. (I call it gaffer’s tape, but that’s another story.) Who can remember Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano, and Scott Rice? A note here. Terry is a disciple of Joe Maddon. Did you notice how Maddon showed no respect for his relief pitchers in the World Series? I think Terry can deviate from that piece of the belief, and pay more attention to his staff relative to who’s rested and who isn’t. It’s a 162-game schedule for them, too. And of course, we all throw objects across the room with his lineup decisions. He’s got to show more respect for people like Wilmer Flores.
Sub-set: Dan Warthen. The Warthen Slider (Is that the name of the latest dance craze?) is becoming a tradition around this club.
The outlook for 2018 - Veeerrry eenteresting. What happens with an up-there-in-years Collins if the Mets win it all this year? Otherwise, I’m pretty sure he’ll be back, causing a number of us to throw objects across the room.
Sandy Alderson - I absolutely hate it when I hear what a shambles the club was when he took over. Sandy has quite fairly credited Omar for signing and developing a lion’s share of this club’s roster. The worst things that happened for Omar were that Jason Bay ceased being the player he was (we all thought it was a good signing, originally) and Bernie Madoff, which he had nothing to do with. Now that I’ve reasserted Truth, Justice, and The American Way for Omar, I will say that Sandy’s done one helluva job. And it wasn’t until I started writing this series of posts that I realized how wisely he has stocked this team. I will get to that when I consider next year.
This year looks pretty good. There’s one excess outfielder who couldn’t bring back fair value and one infielder who couldn’t bring back a draft pick. That’s OK because they’re both major leaguers. After I say the obligatory “barring injury” the team looks to have a pretty strong lineup. There are a lot of home runs expected from this group. I’d like to see fewer of those, and more singles that will raise the team RISP. Sandy and the Sabermetrics (a rock group?) in the front office keep stressing OBP. Unless someone starts teaching it properly, you’re only going to get a bunch of guys taking a first-pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate. Management has to learn to go with the flow when they get guys like T.J. Rivera who go up there hacking.
The farm system is bulging. They’ve got a whole bunch of guys who should be getting a fair amount of playing time in Queens this year: Conforto, Rivera, Nimmo, Cecchini. Currently they’re all injury-replacement fodder. And consider the infield for Vegas this year. You’ve got T.J., Cecchini, Rosario, Philip Evans, Reynolds, and Kelly. I will grant that one of those will be up replacing David on the parent team most of the time, like beginning with the start of the season.
The outlook for 2018 - The more I wrote this series of articles, the more I began to appreciate what Sandy is doing. Consider this: if all of the position players left in free agency, this is what you’d have for the everyday eight. C - Travis dArnaud, 1B - Dominic Smith, 2B - Gavin Cecchini, SS - Amed Rosario, 3B - Rivera, LF - Ces, CF - Lagares/Nimmo, RF - Conforto. He has someone for each position coming out of the minors. They will have all served a full year in AAA or better. With the exception of Smith and Rosario, they already have. I’m sure the Mets will pick up the very cheap option on Cabrera. Getting Walker for a modest three years is a strong possibility. Counting in Cabrera and Walker, there’s about $60 M coming off the payroll going to free agency. They’ll have room to augment out in the field. The rotation is pretty solid, the bullpen will need work. The major thing is: with all of those players leaving for free agency, they will have the money and the young talent to take on 2018.
Ownership - I’m not a big fan. I’ll begin with one word: Madoff. Is it bad having Vegas for your AAA team? Our relationship with Tidewater/Norfolk soured when owners didn’t return phone calls. The more they keep silent and just listen to Sandy, the better they are. They have to know that a playoff team brings in more money, so they should also spend more money on that team. When it comes time for Sandy to leave, do the same thing as when you hired him: get professional advice and follow it.
The outlook for 2018 - Continue to collect your money. Don’t put unrealistic restrictions on the team.
Injuries - I include this in management because it can have a serious effect on the team. They had a total s-load of injuries last year and still managed to finish in the playoffs. I think that bodes well for this year. I attribute a number of last year’s injuries to the after-effects of a full, going-through-the-World-Series year. The young arms got really stretched out, and they suffered last year. It’s all a matter of luck, but I think this year they will have fewer injuries. They almost have to.
The outlook for 2018 - I’m pretty sure the team will get younger for this year, and therefore, healthier. You never can tell with injuries. It’s always a flip of the coin.
I finished this whole series of articles, then saw the game on Wednesday, the 8th, and realized I didn’t say a thing about Tim Tebow. Maybe you readers can help me figure out why.
Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.
You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.