Mike Friere - Cause and Effect?


After reading the wide variety of articles on this very blog on Tuesday morning, I continue to appreciate the efforts that all the contributing writers put forth (as well as all of the informative comments in the section below each article).

Reading the different points of view can sometimes trigger an idea that I had not previously considered.  Once you actually spend a few minutes with the "new" concept, it suddenly makes sense and it makes you wonder why you didn't think of the connection sooner.

In this case, while reading Reese's article on Matt Harvey's latest escapade, there was a smaller section towards the end that proposed a trade with the Dodgers that would help both ball clubs.  Specifically, it would alleviate the log jam in the Mets' outfield, while addressing the dearth of options behind the plate. The Dodgers have the opposite problem so a trade make sense.  The trade proposal isn't necessarily the "new" concept, but the target (Catcher) of the possible deal is related to the concept.

Has anyone else noticed that the Mets got off to a spectacular start to the season that has since slowed down considerably?  The team was 11-1 after 12 games played, only to go 6-8 in the fourteen games played since.   Yes, the end result (17-9) is still an excellent record but the disparity between the first 12 games and the last 14 games is quite noticeable.  With that big of a difference in such a short window, there has to be a reason, right?   In other words, there has to be a cause that has had the listed effect.

Cause and effect analysis is a useful exercise and one that I routinely use as a part of my current job.  It can be simplified even further by asking "what if" type questions and "game playing" the potential answers. 

For example, Matt Harvey decides to drive from San Diego to Los Angeles in order to attend a "premier" event.  The "cause" could be that Matt cares more about his personal desires then those of the team that pays his salary.  The predictable "effect" is more bad press and potential disapproval from his supervision in the short term and possibly negative effects on his career in the long term.  A relevant example and I am sure that all of you understand the concept.

Circling back around, when Reese highlighted the Mets' problems behind the plate, I decided to research the number of appearances by each of our Catchers for the season.

Travis d'Arnaud - 4
Kevin Plawecki - 7
Thomas Nido - 12
Jose Lobaton - 12

***Granted, some of the appearances are clustered since more then one player appeared in the same game.

You will notice that the "platoon" that was slated to start the season (TDA and KP), only participated in 11 games between them (before injuries set in), while the replacement(s) have played in 12 games each since that time.   Interesting when you compare that to the team's record before and after the injuries, right?

While the drop in offensive statistics has been obvious, harder to detect qualities like receiving skills, pitch framing ability and overall experience has also been downgraded considerably.

I think the switch behind the plate has had much more of a negative impact on the pitching staff, then on the offense and I think it has been overlooked by most fans and the media due to the Mets' overall record and their standing within the division.

In short, is it fair to ask if the drop in pitching effectiveness due to the downgrade at Catcher (cause)?  And, if that is true, then the difference between the first 12 games and the last 14 games is likely the effect.

With that said, I think Sandy needs to find a replacement Catcher who can stabilize the pitching staff and I don't think he can afford to wait much longer.  The 17-9 start to the year, coupled with the National slow start is a golden opportunity that shouldn't be squandered by trying to get by with a substandard set of Catchers.


Thomas Brennan said...

I see it more like, the Mets managed to go 11-1 despite a very slow hitting start by our catching tandem of Travis and K Plaw which, if it didn't change soon, would surely "catch" up to the Mets.

There was every reason to expect, after 2017's results, that they would pick up their hitting - until the 2018 injuries hit.

The Mets won despite their 6 for 35, 7 walk start - the Mets were hot and lucky.

Nid-a-hit and Jose Low are (as expected) just 9-55 with 7 walks - luck only takes you so far.

Plawecki will be back in 2 weeks - if Lady Luck continues to hide, the next two weeks could easily be another 6-9 w/l record. Because they call hitting "HITTING" for a reason. Another 9 for 55 with 7 walks would be most unhelpful. Like playing shorthanded in hockey - the other team is on a Power Play.

Thomas Brennan said...

Unrelated but nice -

Columbia playing early today - first 3 times up, Jeremy Vasquez walked, singled, and doubled (8), has 2 RBI (19), and is hitting .350.

Mack Ade said...

Every team in baseball knows that the Mets need a new catcher. It is not going to be easy here to swing a decent deal, especially since we do not have the talent in the pipeline to offer.


Find a consistent SP3 that can turn in a sub 4.00-ERA.

Mike Freire said...

I hear you, Tom........there are likely a few reasons for the hot start and the cold follow up. I look at our pitching staff and I don't see many of them performing at or better then expected, over the last three weeks.

I think the changes behind the plate are having an influence on some level.

bill metsiac said...

Yes, the offense of our catchers is a problem, but I haven't heard any negatives about their D. As Reese said, the lack of offense by the guys we count on is a major concern. The combined BAs of all 3 of our regular OFers and our 1Bman is way below what it should be. And the .156 of Jose and .192 of Wilmer don't help.

If those guys were doing what they should, we can live with the current Catchers at least until we see what Plawecki can do. If he fails to produce then we need to look elsewhere. Not yet.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hyperextended elbow for Jake, Mets crushed by Braves. Has the collapse begun?

Anonymous said...

It is always the darkest before...

The Dawn.

But man, this is getting a bit scary.

Let's put together here, some ideas, just to see if combined we can come up with maybe 2-3 really good suggestions. Don't worry about "how out of the box" they might sound (I never do), we are just trying to come up with like I said 2-3 good ideas potentially.

Here's two I'll offer up. They are a bit out there potentially I do admit, but the here and now perhaps may warrant this? You decide.

1. To me, the current eight starting fielders/batters are kind of in need of a sparkplug couple of players right now to ignite them more. So, I like the "out of the box idea" of calling up and starting Peter Alonso for first base some games to see how he does. Yes, he would skip AAA. But so have others and many handled it well. That's my number one sparkplug infusion.

My second infusion is Jose Reyes starts some games for the next three weeks. Jose is a human sparkplug, we have all seen that over his career here. I like Amed Rosario a lot but his back right foot walking every time he swings at the ball is a bit concerning to me. It could be because I am old school.

2. These NY Mets may be getting a little too close to the precipice with their pitching staff. The Jake injury yesterday could have been a catastrophe for them if it were season ending for him. And there does not seem to be a AAA/AA starter who could actually take his place.

This is why I have been looking at PJ Conlon and Drew Smith the most. I know it will sound repetitious, but is not at all conceivable that Smith could be stretched out to start? PJ has been a little bit up and down thus far at Vegas. I think he will solidify soon, and he is a left-hander.

Okay, there are my two ideas. Now, it is your turn to come up with ideas. If you suggest something like acquiring a player, make certain it is a player that team might consider trading first. Like no one is going to trade the Mets a Tehran, or Freeman. Sound use good judgement and make it realistic.

Anonymous said...

Oh, oh...

Can I get a third idea Mr. Wizard?

3. I might consider (the Mets brass will know better than I though with thsi) bringing up Tim Peterson to take Seth Lugos place in the pen in order to start Lugo in the starting five Mets rotation.

(Okay, as you were. And thanks!)

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