Talking' Baseball - One Particular Event


Question –

            This has been a tough year on both the Mets fans and writers.

            In your opinion, was there one particular incident, injury, decision,                            transaction, etc. that told you that this season was going to go south?

Reese Kaplan says –

The season went south in December of last year after the Winter Meetings when the guy in charge consciously chose not only to add any major league talent to the roster, but also he didn't develop a contingency plan for the inevitable injuries that plagued 2016 as well.  As I've said before, if you had just won the World Series in 4 straight games you could make the case for standing pat, but the team was not as good in 2016 as it was in 2015, so the decision was puzzling. 

I certainly didn't blame him for letting Bartolo Colon walk for the money he was eventually to get from Atlanta, and considering how poorly he fared there it appeared to be a smart move.  However, there were issues at 3B, the outfield, the bench, the bullpen and he had multiple starting pitchers coming back from injuries. 

He finally added a major league player in A.J. Ramos recently at the expense of a few relatively highly regarded low-level minor leaguers.  That's very much a case of way too little too late.  (Of course, obtaining Ramos was done only to allow him to sell off a higher quality player in Addison Reed who netted three pitching prospects, none of whom had eye popping numbers (or even numbers to match that of Merandy Gonzalez who he gave up in the Ramos deal). 

Jack Flynn – says –

There have been so many different injuries that it would be hard to point to any one moment as the harbinger of doom. The hardest part of dealing with the debacle that the 2017 season has become is that it really may not be anyone's fault. Sandy put together a team that went seven deep in the starting rotation, had a "good enough" bullpen and featured a starting eight that was among the better lineups in the National League. Terry's Achilles heel has always been his reliever usage, but who could honestly harp on that this year given how overburdened the relievers were?

The most viable criticism I can acknowledge is that the increased emphasis on strength training was at least partially attributable to the Syndergaard and the Cespedes injuries. But was that really unique to this organization, or is that more of a league-wide trend that is intended to combat late-season fatigue now that players can't pop greenies anymore?

Peter Hyatt says –

            Spring Training, 2017. 

I had a decidedly pessimistic attitude going into the opening day because of a few things I was told in Spring Training which all came down to a single issue:  lack of leadership. Within this lack of leadership, there were two distinct elements:

One was Alderson's immense ego overruling logic and the second was the lack of team respect needed to pull together young men into one cohesive unit built to withstand the long season.

When managers do not manage, to survive, they must curry favor with vets who empathize and surround him as "friends" and "equals" but not as good soldiers. 

There was an ominous sign that confirmed what I had heard, right from the               beginning. 

I watched our single most talented hitter, Michael Conforto, have a good Spring Training (.300) but be slated for a useless trip to the minors, until an injury saved him. 

Secondly, I was told some specifics that leadership abdication was not corrected. What began in the 2015 miracle, with the refusal to lead, gave birth to the circus of Spring 2016 where a second miracle was needed to make the Wild Card Game, but no real post season baseball was played.

The Mets did not learn that leadership means making tough decisions and not letting young pitchers make critical decisions, or allowing stars to give "bad optics" during the games' most important moments. 

I was told something specifically that I shared with some before it happened:  to expect Alderson's crown jewel,  Cespedes to go down in injury as soon as he slumped as he is prone to pouting and the Mets lack of leadership has enabled him further.  This came to a head in the deliberate public statement by Alderson that "no substantial injury, not even swelling" was found in the MRI, as he attempted to get his brooding star back on the field. 

I was told that once Sandy Alderson puts his official "stamp of approval" on a player, this player would see time on the field come hell or high water.  While personal reclamation project Jose Reyes did his best to facilitate the inescapable hole in April, May and June with horrific play, offensively, defensively and on the base paths, to promote Amed Rosario would have meant Alderson "admitting" he was wrong to ownership about signing Reyes.  Reyes was the perfect "money ball bargain" to present to stingy Ponzi ownership.  

Alderson's egotistical sabermetric addiction to the waiver wire would mean blown games in the bullpen as well as the continued retention of a manager he could control.

I was pessimistic because of the personality split of the clubhouse, as if it was "Team Me" versus Team, with Granderson, Bruce, and other vets trying to pull them together, was not addressed in Spring Training.

I was told to expect that the inmates would run the asylum.  With the refusal of Cespedes to follow team guide lines, we learned from ESPN that he had bloated his body to match his ego, isolating leg presses for hypertrophy contradicting athleticism. 

We were saddened when Matt Harvey ditched (again -there's more here) due to his g/f not being his bff and giving him "likes" and him craving celebrity status and alcohol more than baseball's demands on the body and mind.
But we were shocked when the poison spread:  Noah Syndergaard bought into             the hype and followed the set example and refused team medical protocol. 

The playing of contracts and Alderson's bets over productivity conspired with                surprising injuries and sunk the 2017 season.

All this was signaled in the Spring that the NY Mets would not show strong leadership and bring together the team that could overcome the inevitable adversity that 162 game season warrants.  

The injuries came unexpectedly, but leadership had no contingency plans                   beyond the waiver wire. 

In spite of being disappointed that Amed Rosario and Dom Smith did not receive timely promotions, I do respect Alderson's decision to at least try to limit the Mets' future star, Rosario,  from the poison of Cabrera and "Team Me" mentality.  That published leak was true...and likely deliberate from one with a history of attempting to debate Alderson. 

Eddie Carona says –

            Wow, great question... here is my answer

This year has been tough year. I thought this team was a 90 win team having              to fight the Nationals for the division down to the the last week.

But it was a complete failure... From regressions from the left side of the infield, to our Closer's issues, and then the complete down year by our Star OF'er Cespedes... But what really had completed done our team in is the pitching staff... Our 5 Aces that was suppose to be a generational pitching staff...

So the biggest decision that was the demise of the 2017 season was Noah Syndergaard decision to not have a MRI. While it was a different injury i could have had some related results in why he has been out for most of the season.  Thor was thought to be a top 5 pitcher in the national league. If he was able to replicate the season that DeGrom is having this could have been an season with promise. But alas he is joined the list of wounded Pitchers.
If this team is going to have a future... we need the likes of Rosario, Conforto and Smith but the key will be the health of Syndergaard and Degrom to lead a group of starters who can keep us in the game.

Michael Maar says –

The biggest shocker of a blow overall and to the pitching staff was the injury to Syndergard.  That did have to demoralized the team, especially since it came in a drubbing against the Nationals.  But aside from that, I wouldn't necessarily say there was one particular incident that made me feel the season was going to go south.  If guys would have stepped up and put the Mets on a winning streak right after Thor when down, things would have stabilized.  It's not a shocker but it was the poor performances of the guys left standing and the resulting losing that gave me that uh-oh feeling. 

Regardless of injuries, I think the Mets still had a lot of talent on their active roster to the point where their being 10+ games under .500 is severe underachievement.  The poor performances from the pitching staff in particular has doomed this season.  Who could have predicted that the Mets staff would rank 2nd to last in the NL?!?!?  Gsellman was expected to be able to step in and at least come somewhat close to his 2nd half performance from last year, but did not.  Matz should have given them a shot in the arm on his return, but has poked more holes in the sinking ship.  The bullpen has been abysmal, which can't all be blamed on the loss of Familia.  Overall, just very very disappointing in a way that makes me look forward to significant roster and coaching turnover heading into 2018.

Tom Brennan says –

My magic moment for when the season started going south was in April. When Cespedes tried to return too early from his leg injury and then really hurt it, and would end up missing several weeks, I knew this team was in deep deep trouble. With Matz and Lugo already out for an extended period of time, and Washington off to a great start, I knew the season was in deep trouble not much after the tax filing deadline in April. And then of course it got worse after that.

Clay Ramsey says –

For me it was the injuries. I've honestly never seen a team have this many injuries before. I suggest that we get new staff members in the department of the health of the players, because what they have been doing isn't working


Thomas Brennan said...

Beyond the "one event" that all of us took a nice stab at here, when a team's staff so drastically underperforms, everything else would have to go right. Harvey, Matz, Wheeler, Gsellman, and Montero collectively awful, Lugo missed 10 weeks, and cornerstone closer Familia has missed 90% of the season so far. Too much to overcome, this side of offensive and defensive perfection. With solid offense unfortunately hampered by Cespedes missing so much time, and shaky overall defense, undoable.

Hobie said...


Thank you. I'd only add Thor to you list of pitching woes (& let you decide how significant that is). Offense? Obviously frustrating on the micro level, yet 4.76 Runs/G this year vs. 4.14 in 2016 and 4.21 in 2015.

Anonymous said...

When Noah went down, it was a massive blow; it sucked all the air out of the room.

Also thought going into the season that Harvey would be key. With Jake and Thor, a 3rd strong effort from Harvey would have signaled a very promising season. After a good start, he stumbled badly and we knew he just wasn't healthy.

I also thought that Reyes signaled an indifference early this season, not fully engaged, and yet he continued to play, and play, and play.

And when Familia went down, we kind of waited a week for some kind of reaction from the GM. When it became clear there would be no response, no help on the way, it showed he had already given up the season.

Rosario only being considered for call-up until season was done.

But one event? Noah. He's also the most fun Met. Suddenly there was no joy in Mudville, and very little personality too.


Thomas Brennan said...

Hobie, I brainlocked on Thor. He definitely fits in the list of huge pitching disappointments in 2017. His loss tore the final Mets muscle of 2017 contention as it turned out.

Gary Seagren said...

How about the fact that ONLY DeGrom can make it to the 7/8th inning is a REALLY big problem for last year this year and next year and must be corrected or all the rest of our problems pale by comparison.

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