Mike Friere - Are We Good Enough? (Part One)


The term "emotional roller coaster" is an interesting one and it is usually saved for people who enjoy some drama in their lives.  I am sure that everyone reading this article can think of a few people in their lives who match this description.  However, the term can also be used to describe larger groups of people (teams) and how their erratic performance can feel like you are riding a roller coaster.  Our very own Mets DEFINITELY meet that standard and the first 20% of the season is living proof (I can only imagine what our new manager must be feeling right now).

With that said, the hot start followed by the ugly stretch of games that brought us to this point are what they are.  Sure, you can use a variety of explanations to address WHY (injuries, poor performance or perhaps a curse of some sort), but that won't change where we are, will it?

Thinking about this turned my thoughts to the current roster and if it is truly "good enough".  What that means within the context of this article is "playoff or championship caliber".  If that isn't clear enough, ask yourself how many of our players would play a prominent role on a contending ball club like the Astros, for example.   In short, if the player(s) in question would find a spot on a "good" roster, then they are "good enough" for this discussion.

This will be the first in a series of articles that will look at the Mets' roster and attempt to ask the question "are we good enough" from top to bottom.   This is a valuable exercise because it should highlight exactly how much work the Front Office has to do to get the team where all of us would like them to be.

For "fun", let's start behind the plate with our CATCHERS.   I may get accused of "cherry picking" here, but it is actually worse then I thought.  Without going into ALL of the gory details, just know that our Catchers to date have an average OPS of .522, which is almost unfathomable.  According to those in the know, that OPS is considered VERY POOR, but I think we suspected that already.  Hell, Rey Ordonez had a career OPS of .600, if that tells you anything.

Here is a list of Catchers who have played for the Mets this year;

Travis d'Arnaud (Injured - 60 Day DL)

Kevin Plawecki (Injured - 10 Day DL)

Jose Lobaton

Thomas Nido

Do you see anyone on this list who would start for a contending ball club?  Without sounding too negative, I do NOT and I think this position is in dire need of an upgrade.  Identifying the issue is easy enough, but how do the Mets fix the problem and how long will it take?

1.  TDA has one year of arbitration left in 2019 before he hits free agency in 2020.   Even when he is healthy, he isn't "good enough", in my opinion.  I would non-tender him in the off season and look for a better option.

2.  KP is a bit younger and the Mets control his rights through the 2022 season, so he is not going anywhere for quite a while.  He has had his own durability issues, I see a solid back up player when I think about his future so he may play a role but not as a starter.

3.  Jose Lobaton is a journeyman type and as far as I can tell, is only signed for this season.  He deserves a hearty pat on the back for helping the team through a tough time, but he isn't part of the future.

4.  Thomas Nido is still a developmental player, with the Mets controlling his rights for the next few years, sort of like KP.  While he has shown that he isn't ready YET, he is still relatively young for the position and could blossom if given some more time at  AA and/or AAA.   I would hold onto him in the short term, but his potential would not prevent an outside acquisition if I were in charge.

Farther down the minor league "ladder" there may be future prospects who will eventually step up and contribute, but that is not likely to occur in time to save the 2018 season.   So, any internal solutions are still a couple of years away, at best.

Based on the lack of depth, I think the Mets need to go outside of the organization to address the lack of catching options.  The intent of this piece isn't to explore all of the available players that can be obtained in a trade or free agency.   But, someone like Wilson Ramos from the Rays could be a short and medium term solution in a 2018 trade acquisition.   Or, Yasmani Grandal (Dodgers) could be a target in free agency after the current season ends, if he is not resigned by his current club.

To summarize, the Mets simply cannot continue with the current state of things behind the plate.  The problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible for the rest of 2018, as well as the following season.


Thomas Brennan said...

Your mouth to God's ears, as the Mets add Devin Mesoraco. We just have to hope his past hip, shoulder and foot injuries are behind him.

Mack Ade said...

Mike -

As Tom has pointed out, this position was addressed with the Harvey trade.

Mesoraco is no Mike Piazza, but he was an all-star catch before injures set in two years ago.

There is only one thing that is more negative for a catcher than aging... it is injuries while aging.

I think this is a nice move beause we got something when we were willing to let Harvey go for nothing. At least this gives Nido a chance to reset in Vegas.

Still... in my book... the catcher position is still a negative on this team.

My hopes is a healthy Plawecki takes this over permanently.

Reese Kaplan said...

The combined d'Arnaud/Plawecki numbers from last year were perfectly acceptable and actually ranked in the upper 1/3 of all teams. Had injuries not occurred then they would likely have been perfectly acceptable again. It's not fair to say they wouldn't start when they were better than 2/3 of what other teams trot out there.

Now if you want to say that about Lobaton and Nido, I'm nodding my head yes.

Hobie said...

Is it coincidence that the Met fortunes have reversed with the loss of both starting catchers? I'm not talking bat here (although there is some of that) nor arm (which may actually be slightly stronger).

Did you hear Gelb's interview with Johnny Bench the other day? Classic.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Mack, Nimmo to start and stay (with maybe Lagares subbing in at centerfield at times) might be a very good thing right now. Maybe it was not just ironic that the NY Mets slide began when Nimmo came out, but who knows for certain.

I like Michael Conforto a lot too, but something is off with him right now, although I am not certain if it has anything to do with his injury of 2017. It could. He did mention in an interview recently that he skipped AAA Vegas.

Sports (and life in general)are an ebb and flow type thing. Nothing ever remains static for very long. Change really is the only constant. The key for any management, is to merely try to extend the highs and limit the lows, anyway that they can.

A Daily News article recently may have merit when stating that it is not the Mets manager to blame for this recent slide, but rather the team is to some extent structurally flawed in construction. But really here, every team not winning the bulk of their games (at any one time in their season) can be described as such if you really think about it some. Which translated out means that 85% of all sports teams are by this DN definition "structurally flawed" and it is so easy to be that, especially in this day and age. All it takes is for one key player on a team to go down hurt for awhile and bingo/bango!

So what does it all mean, to me?

My gut tells me that the Mets MiLB (top two levels) could have maybe 5-6 players who could make an impact in 2018. Namely, Peter Alonso, Dom Smith (now up), Nabil Crismatt, Drew Smith, Tyler Baschlor, and Gavin Cecchini. And there will be more to come in 2019 as well, maybe Gerson Bautista, my hope.

See my point. It is not at all like trading baseball cards were in 1971. We have to be a little bit more patient.

Mack's Mets © 2012