Mike Freire - Fleeting Thoughts (Playoffs and Offseason Edition)


Good Morning, Mets' fans!

By the time you read this article, the Mets' braintrust (go easy, it's just a name) should have started their offseason planning for the 2020 season, while our former manager is working on his Pitching Coach resume and the MLB Playoffs have progressed from the Wild Card Round to the Divisional Round.  

So, in other words, a whole lot has happened since Dom Smith belted a three run "walk off" home run against the stinking Braves, securing the Mets' 86-76 record.  I probably didn't need to emphasize the last sentence quite so much, but ANY win against the Braves is worth it, no matter how insignificant it may be.

If you are unfamiliar with my "Fleeting Thoughts" series, it is just the random musings of an average Mets' fan.  My mind tends to wander sometimes, but I usually have a point to make before I wrap things up.  With that said, let's get started with the first edition that I cleverly labeled the Playoffs and Offseason Edition.

1.  As I am writing this on a Sunday evening, the only post-season series that have concluded to date are the Wild Card matchups (mainly because they are just one game each).  In my attempt to review and predict all of the 2019 playoff series, I am off to a most excellent 2-0 start!  Only, I was way off on how the Nationals and Rays would get there.  

The Nationals relied on their bullpen (normally a weakness) and a huge mistake by the Brewers (normally a strength), to rally from a 3-1 deficit and advance to meet the Dodgers.  The Rays clubbed four home runs (not usually their style) and sent the Athletics to the golf course earlier then most predicted.

2.  The Divisional Series have been entertaining, with the Nationals giving the Dodgers a real scare so far, while the Rays have pushed the Astros to the edge despite losing the first two games in Houston.....there really isn't any shame in losing to Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, right?  The Braves are winning late by taking advantage of a crappy Cardinals bullpen and the Yankees have absolutely smashed the Twins so far, which was completely the opposite of what I thought would happen (Nostradamus I am NOT).  

I overlooked the fact that the Twins have a recent habit of completely disappearing once the playoffs start. There are games still to be played, but it is looking like we could have a Yankees/Astros ALCS, which would be "must see TV". The National League COULD feature the Nationals and Braves in the NLCS, but that is still to be determined for now, so let's check back in a few more days and see what happened.

3.  Mickey Callaway was "let go" (FIRED) a few days ago in what was the worst kept secret the last week or two of the regular season.  I don't know him personally, but he seemed like a decent guy so you don't feel good about another person losing their job.  But, he just seemed out of his element as the manager and I did not have confidence in his ability to take the team to the next level.  Maybe he will land on his feet with a different club as a Pitching Coach (just not with bullpen responsibilities, unless it ends up being with the Phillies).

4.  Despite what the media will tell you, the current opening with the Mets is an ATTRACTIVE position!  Yes, you have the Wilpon angle and that is worth a couple of negative points, but I get the feeling that even they are starting to realize that what has been going on for a while now is simply not working (i.e. meddling).  

Maybe they will finally let the "adults" in the room actually do what they are getting paid to do?  I like the teams' young core, I also generally like BVW (the Cano trade notwithstanding) and he has assembled a nice cast of middle managers (scouts), along with an emphasis on analytics and player development.  Add the right manager and things could get interesting, in a GOOD way (not in the car crash on the side of the road sort of way).  The million dollar question is WHO?

5.  I am glad that you asked because I have an opinion on the topic.  I think Joe Maddon would be an absolute home run of a hire, but it has been strangely quiet on that front.  Smart money says that Joe goes back to the "left coast" and takes over the Angels dugout.  

Homecoming reasons aside, I think the Mets' opening is a better job then the Angels' position, but in the end I think that Joe to the Angels is a done deal.  However, Joe Girardi would be my (close) second choice to become the next Mets' manager.  He is tough, successful, experienced (in NY, no less) and he would have the player's respect.  Giving general credit to several folks who have already floated this idea, but how about Girardi as our manager and Carlos Beltran as his bench coach?

6.  Lastly, while all of you undoubtably have an opinion on what the Mets need to do to become actual contenders in 2020, keep this uncredited saying in mind.  "You have to take care of business in your own back yard before you can accomplish anything else".  In this scenario, our back yard is the National League East.  

As mentioned in #2 above, the NLCS could feature the two teams that finished ahead of us in our own division.  To get where we want to go, we need to focus on beating them (along with the Phillies and Marlins) before we can entertain the thought of winning anything else.  The Braves won 97 games and the National League East crown this year (and they looked poised to stick around for a while). 

The Nationals had a horrific start to the year, but still managed to win 93 games and a Wild Card position.  By my math, we are still 7 and 11 games short of those two teams (thank you, bullpen).  Every move made this offseason should be done with one goal in mind.....win the division title first!

Have a great day and see you next time.


Tom Brennan said...

Yankees in, Mets out - such a familiar refrain.

Astros/Yanks would make some titanic series.

Reese Kaplan said...

I don't know if it's more because I'm a Mets fan or because I live in Texas and my home office is in Houston, but that's an easy call for me to root for Jose Altuve & company.

Mack Ade said...

Unlike others (than Metsiac), I don't think much more is needed to get this team over the top.

1. There are enough excellent players on this team to get them to just miss.

2. Their attitude both in the clubhouse and dugout is spot on.

3. We need to solve the 5th SP slot. I think Wheeler is gone, period. He is worth far more in the open market than he'd get here. Let's not forget Kilome here.

4. Time off in the off season should give everyone the rest needed to start off clean... Cano will play second... Lowrie will play third... Ramos back for year 2 at home... Jeff moves to the outfield with Nimmo and Conforto. This is a good hitting team.

5. And then there is the pen. I love Lugo. I think Diaz will shake off 2019. I really like Wilson. And I sort of like Brach. That's 4. One more than 3. But 4 less than is needed. We need some now answers to a very old question.

Dallas said...

I was looking at the Yankees frontline bullpen this morning. Britton(1.9ERA), Ottavino(1.9ERA) and Chapman(2.2ERA)... is it a wonder they won so many games? Their bullpen is shutdown from these guys, the get the lead then they win. Really this is what the Mets should have been (Familia, Lugo, Diaz). I don't know if anyone could predict the implosion of Familia and Diaz. Were they more affected by the new juiced ball than others? Were there deep analytics to predict a major regression? I hope BVW is investing in the right people to figure out Diaz and Familia because they have a lot of money and hope tied to them.

I would think Joe Maddon would have to at least talk with the Mets before taking the Angels job? From a leverage position alone. If BVW is good at anything its probably talking people into things based on his talent of being an agent.

The Mets just put out a top 10 Mets moments video...definitely made you feel like the Mets were a team of destiny with all of the cool things that happened this year. Go take a watch. Such a punch in the gut to not be in the playoffs.

Tom Brennan said...

Dallas, when the Mets started to really falter this year, not when they got to 40-51 low point, but let's say 30-40 games earlier, the Yankees GM would have pulled out whatever stops they could have to make the bleeding stop - the Mets didn't. In one organization failure is not an option.

Mack Ade said...


I'm sure that Mickey lobbied BVW saying he will do better.

Anonymous said...

Hot Topics, sort of.

1. The Mets need to prioritize their needs, carefully, and not spend too much time on the new manager selection because there are actually a few really good ones to choose from now. I like Joe Maddon, Dusty Baker, and J. Riggleman the best. I am not thrilled with Girardi or Showalter only because they have shown (at times with other teams) to have negatives in handling those teams despite they're being excellent managers and very knowledgeable of the game itself. This team's chemistry is so good right now, that you don't chance it all this way.

2. I looked over the FA pitcher list Mack provided above in his article and the only two starters I'd look at were of course Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley. However, why would Houston ever let Cole walk, he is an outstanding righty. Remember a guy named Morton? Why Miley? Look at his 2019 stats first, plus he is a lefty who has started and relieve. Mets need another dependable lefty starter, but also another dpendable lefty later inning reliever. Miley is a nice start to this purpose.

3. Everyone loves Michael Conforto, I do too. But he has not progressed BA wise nor clutch wise as predicted. His strikeouts are too many now and this may be what he will stay being, my guess. I would upgrade right field this off season. The Mets do have trade pieces for this.

4. Jed Lowrie to me is still very much a question mark at third and I love JD Davis in left field. Lowrie is an older version Lowrie now, and injuries find him. We do not need a part time third baseman but rather a younger one with some power and bat attack to him.

5. I'd still make an attempt to sign Zach Wheeler, a serious offer. The man is worthy, look at his stat numbers. Then add in like a Wade Miley in the five slot, and one MiLB new arm prospect from a list of four or righty Harol Gonzales. A team should always be looking at developing their in-house younger arms to keep their rotation pertinent and strong over time. This is precisely what the 1990's Atlanta Braves did and it worked out exceedingly well for them.

6. In summary, RF, 3B, kid starter, Miley, and strengthen the bench more so key starters in the field can be rested a little more than 2015-2019.

7. Whether anyone else sees this or not, Phil Regan and Chilli Davis were monumental to the overall success of these 2019 NY Mets second half. Monumental.

8. What did I think of Mickey Callaway. Mickey being made manager from day one was a learning curve for him. I liked his effort because he showed great progress heading into second half of 2019 and the team played hard for him I felt. I believed that heading into the 2020 season Mickey would have begun to pay huge dividends for this team, but I do think it would not have been without any risk. It was strictly a judgement call by the Mets. You have to remember here that despite now being a young fielding team, their pitching staff is getting older, so the time is now for the WS run and not later.

9. Houston manager made major mistake starting Verlander in game five on like two days rest. No other manager would have been so foolish knowing that if you somehow lose game five you would then be able to have Verlander on two days more rest to start game six the deciding game. Not sure who this manager on Houston is, but he made a very bad call here.

Mack's Mets © 2012