Mike Friere - Reality Bites!


Some of you may remember the title of this article was also used in a movie a while ago.   I don’t remember the actual movie (probably a “date night” from long ago), but the title seemed appropriate for the current state of our favorite team.  As a disclaimer, I am NOT throwing in the towel or intentionally launching into a negative diatribe.  However, while I am positive by nature, I am also a realist and I try to “call them like I see them”.

After a somewhat “luck driven” 11-1 start to the year (not supported by most metrics, to include run differential), the Mets have posted a 6-12 record in the eighteen games since (OK, so as I am writing this, the Mets have not technically lost the opener to the Rockies YET, but I am not holding out hope as they are down 7-2 at this point….thank you, Zack).  On top of their less then stellar performance of late, the injury “scare” with Jake, as well as the absolute “train wreck” that Matt Harvey’s career leaves most of us feeling quite deflated and pessimistic about the rest of the season.  

It would be a fair question to ask which version of the team is the real version?

Sadly, I think they are closer to the 6-12 team then they are to the 11-1 team and when everything balances out, I see them as MAYBE a .500 team that has two good pitchers and a few power hitters who can light up the scoreboard WHEN they are hitting the ball consistently, which is anything but.  With that said, do you really see the Mets competing with the better teams in the National League right now?   Or, better still, do you see the Mets beating any of the better teams in the AL, such as Houston, Boston or the dreaded Yankees?   Me, either.

So, if the current edition of the Mets isn’t really good enough to challenge for championship (or even a playoff berth), then what should they do?  

In my opinion, they have two choices ahead of them as an organization.

1.  Stay the course, hope that some of our veteran players start producing as they should and possibly even add some talent through a trade or two.  By doing so, they COULD right the ship and make a run for a playoff berth.  Best case scenario, they get into the playoffs, get hot at the right time and potentially ride their two dominant starters to a championship.

2.  Recognize that they are lacking in multiple areas and FINALLY address that issue by trying something NEW!

Option #1 would be great if it came to pass, but the chances of that happening are pretty low, right?   More likely, “staying the course” would result in a 
few more wins in the short term, but it would come at the expense of the future (traded assets, restricted development of our younger players due to veterans getting the bulk of the playing time).

Option #2 is vague on the surface, but it is something the Mets should have done a year or two ago and that is a “calculated” tear down and a subsequent
rebuilding job that focuses on tomorrow.   By trying to win with a substandard roster, you don’t accomplish either goal and the team is “stuck” in mediocrity, or perhaps PURGATORY.

I am sure the fan base wouldn’t be in love with the idea at first, but I think it is necessary to have a chance at sustained success.  You can look at the Houston Astros or even the stinking Atlanta Braves for examples of teams that were able to take advantage of a rebuilding cycle and come out of the other side stronger then before.   After the butt kicking that just took place a few days ago, which roster would you rather have at this point, ours or the Braves?

The first step in this process has already been taken with the managerial change that technically took place in the offseason.  I genuinely like Mickey Callaway and I think he is a part of our future, despite his mixed reviews while trying to manage the flawed roster that exists currently.   I am less in love with Sandy Alderson, so a change in the front office wouldn’t break my heart and would likely serve as a springboard for the process.

A secondary “purge” is also necessary and has actually begun with the designation for assignment of the former “Dark Knight”, Matt Kardashian, I mean Harvey.   Between his diminished skill set and his detrimental attitude, it will be addition by subtraction and serve as a message that the culture is changing.   That needs to continue with a few other players that are simply taking up space and blocking young players from developing, such as Jose Reyes and Adrian Gonzalez (feel free to add your own names to this list).

As far as the rest of the players are concerned, whoever is leading the Front Office needs to sit down and make a list of players who they see as a part of the future core of the team.  Anyone left over should be traded (if possible), relegated to a back up role (where appropriate) or released (see above).  This includes ending the charade of hanging on to false hope with players such as Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz.

Sorry if this ended up as a bit of a rant, but I think it is time for a new direction. 

What say you?


Thomas Brennan said...

Mike, I disagree on Matz. I think he will be fine. Yesterday was one step...how nice it would have been if the putrid offense could have gotten him a win.

I have an article on two guys later today, tongue in cheek. But much more serious about one of the two. Check it out.

Wheeler is the patron saint of a losing team. I would put him in the pen and Loogie Lugo in his place. If Vargas does not snap to, move Gsellman into his slot.

Where is Rafael Montero when you need him?

Hansel Robles is Matt Harvey with a real fastball.

Mack Ade said...

Morning Mike -

I know you wrote this before last night's game. I can not imagine what it would have said if you waited until that game ended.

It is a tough time to be a Mets fan. We will have better days but things need to be addressed NOW to make this a better team immediately.

1. Having Jose Reyes on the 25-man simply is wasting a slot. The Mets need to make a move here. I said in an earlier post that Reyes would probably accept a payout. I thought about that and thought back on a conversation I had with Reyes' brother outside the ST clubhouse when the Mets world was waiting to see if the Mets would sign him back up. The brother told me than that I should not get my hopes up because, when it comes to Jose, it is always about the money. No, the Mets need to cut fish and pay him his full 2018 salary. Mistake number two (Harvey) in a year filling up with mistakes.

2. The Mets need to cut a deal on a new catcher. The combo of Nido and Lobaton does not hack it. It also has exposed Nido and taken away any prospect tag we had on him. We can not sit and wait for Plawecki to return. One of these guys gets up every nine batters and it is a throw away.

3. Michael Conforto needs to be sent to Vegas to get his act together again. It will also return his confidence... or... it will further expose that he still is suffering from his past shoulder injury. Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares deserves to play, even if it is only platooning with each other. They have been consistent bats on a team that does not have enough of these.

Met Monkey said...

Yup, yup, and yup, obviously correct on all three, so just what bizarre Hanuman idol deity does our GM worship at not to see what others do?

Thomas Brennan said...

It is funny and typically Met, too, that when Plawecki had his hairline diagnosis, they said 2-3 weeks...probably they wanted to not look desperate to trade partners, like they couldn't figure it out.

A hairline fracture of your catching hand, when you have to catch Jake and Thor? No way a hairline fracture hand could withstand their heat 80+ times a game before 5 weeks of healing. At least.

What team loses both their catchers at exactly the same time? A cursed team.

Thomas Brennan said...

Since CATCHER Rene Rivera left Mets last year, he is 25 for 83 (.301) with 17 RBIs. Out from under the curse. If he stayed, that would have been .160.

Mack Ade said...

Monkey -

I have been a Mets writer since the Minaya days and I have never been able to figure out Sandy. He obviously has tremendous loyalty to veterans and is very slow to change.

I will say this...

A lot of the decisions come from above him and he just is the messenger.

Still, the three I outlined could be understood by a monkey.

Oh... sorry.

Mike Freire said...

You are right, Mack......perhaps I was a bit hasty with my analysis on Friday night (a couple of drinks may have helped). I still see a flawed team that will be inconsistent at best going forward. It also seems a bit short on talent, so if they are not a championship contender, then they have work to do to get to that point.

Matz has more moments of brilliance then Zack, but he is inconsistent from start to start, not to mention a bit on the brittle side. I think he is no more then a #4 or #5 starter on a good ball club.

As always, I hope I am wrong and will admit it if I am.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mike, I still remember the Matz who when healthy (and he is again now) was good enough to win 11 of his first 12 major league decisions. Now he needs to remember it, too. Zach Wheeler honestly seems #8 quality in a 5 man rotation.

Oswalt got smacked around, as did Tim Peterson - every pitcher has his Vegas Moment.

Mack's Mets © 2012