November 8, 2014

The 2014-15 Offseason - What the Mets Need to do (and probably won't...)

I met Ron Darling last night at a signing for his wine.  All proceeds went to the juvenile diabetes research.  While that last bit is positive and uplifting, I met freaking Ron Darling!  He was a gentleman, took pics with us and engaged in conversation about whatever topic people wanted to discuss.

What was more telling was waiting on line and talking to other Mets fans.  We all have the same mentality, ideas and hopes for what the current version of the team needs to do in order to play those oh so meaningful, yet rare, September games with the hopeful October extension we crave.

While most in line agreed that a better shortstop and upgraded left/right fielder was the main focal point in any roster improvement, the path by which to achieve these goals varied widely.

"Niese and Gee can go...Murph too...not Murph, he's the teams best hitter.  Trade Granderson, no one will take that Syndergaard, not Montero but keep Matz..."

While the conversation revolved around those possible trade pieces and I laughed at the bottle of Giancarlo wine behind me stating we needed one of those in our lineup, I pondered the Mets decision making for this offseason.

The needs are obvious, more offense.  Solution, bring in the fences and Granderson will hit seven more homers.  Ok, solved...wait, not exactly.  Where does the big bat in the lineup come from?  The trade route is definitely the way to go since the free agent market is littered with solid yet underwhelming players that will either cost a draft pick or too much money and/or too many years.  I have been the eternal optimist for this team for as long as I can remember but even I have been sucked into the glass is half empty crew these days.

Last off-season the Harvey injury seemed to alter the Mets plans as they no longer saw their young pitching depth as an asset in the trade market, rather an asset they needed to hold on too.  I felt it was a more severe knee-jerk reaction than was necessary but I can sympathize with the idea.  However, the Dark Knight is back, Wheeler is a year older and wiser, we are about to have the NL rookie of the year and you still have Niese, Gee, Colon, Montero, Syndergaard and at the end of this season Matz.  That seems to be a pretty well stocked pitching rotation with one problem.  Too many arms, not enough slots.  The solution is to package some combination of a veteran arm and a young fireballer along with some semblance of position player(s) and go get another bat or two.

Offense was way down across baseball this past season which is why you can't have enough of it.  The Mets have a commodity that is in demand and the time is now to sell high.  No Michael Morse, no Michael Cuddyer, no Alexei Ramirez.  No CarGo or Tulo, we have spent too may seasons as an infirmary to waste dollars, years and good prospects on players who can't stay healthy.  Be aggressive and creative and go after some bigger fish.

I have a few examples, maybe they are unrealistic but that's what the offseason is for, ridiculous ideas and grandiose dreams.  So here goes:

The ever popular Cespedes to the Mets, Stanton to the Red Sox and something to the Marlins deal is very palatable.  I would gladly send Niese and/or Gee with a young pitching prospect to the Sawx for Cespedes.  This one is not my idea but still a decent stab in the dark.

Cleveland's Michael Brantley would be a great addition, the Tribe could use some support in the rotation for Corey Kluber and the Mets have the arms to give them.   Prying away a bat like Brantley's is about as likely as me winning the Mega Millions but why not ask?

The Royals seem to have made a few players available so why not pony up a few young arms for Alex Gordon?  The Platinum glove winner would make our outfield almost impenetrable and he has a good bat.  Granted, like Brantley, Gordon is left handed so this makes a trade here a bit less likely since a right handed power bat is preferable, but this is another area the Mets should research.

How about helping the Rays restock their pitching corps and seeing if they aren't too reluctant to part with Wil Myers.  Yes he was a huge prospect, had a great rookie campaign but injuries set him back last year and maybe you can make a sweet enough deal to pry him away.

Granted, these are all somewhat proven, young, major league talents.  I'm sure there are plenty of minor league guys at the cusp of being an "impact bat".  However, the Mets do not have the luxury, in my opinion, of selling the fan base on someone who can possibly help the club in a year or two.  The time is now to make your move, trade a portion of your pitching stockpile along with some veterans in the right moves, either one of those listed above or ones that none of us have thought of, to fortify this team and finally give the Citi Field faithful something to come to the ballpark for.

So the next time I meet Ron Darling or another of the Mets elder statesmen the Mets need to find the next generation of players worth going to see 30 years after they win a championship.  Standing in line talking about what they accomplished sure beats standing in line shaking your head about what they always do...nothing.

June 5, 2014

Please Stop Tracking "Games Out"

I see a lot of people taking the time to track the Mets in relation to the second Wild Card and first place in the NL East. I get why they are doing it; with the fairly early date in the season and nobody in the division running away with it, 3.5 games seems tantalizingly close. But before we go and measure this team against the Braves or a potential playoff spot, we need to measure them against mediocrity, a .500 record.

The Mets have not won more games than they lost since 2008, the year of the second collapse and when things began to truly unravel. They have not played meaningful games or even been relevant since then. They are not going to storm back into the playoffs this season. It is more important they start to build something. Sandy's 90 win projection was silly, and so is hoping for the playoffs right now. Let's just get back even and go from there.

Sorry for the delay.

April 27, 2014

24 Games Down, What Do We Know?

Last night was my first game of the season at Citi Field and represented 30 years of going to games with my Dad, that's a pretty solid streak if I say so myself.  A more modest one came to an end last night as the Mets 3 game winning streak was snapped in a come from behind extra inning loss to the Marlins.  Normally a game like this would distress me more but a win today is another series win for the Mets and considering the doom and gloom predictions by many of the New York media pundits this has been a pretty solid campaign so far.

The negatives are wide ranging of course.  Granderson has yet to do anything but play hard, he hit into some bad luck again last night, but I remain confident he will turn it around and be an offensive force (this is not Jason Bay, I swear!).  The bullpen scares the ever loving excrement out of me.  With a dearth of young yet unproven arms and three veterans who are trying to resurrect their respective careers this rendition of the Mets pen is rife for failure.  They have pitched well of late and haven't repeated the disaster of opening weekend since (although last nights go ahead homer allowed by Farnsworth may qualify).  The offense still struggles to produce.  All too often men are left in scoring position with less than two outs.  Those runs last night would have changed the game and the team could have absorbed the 5 run sixth inning and still won.  This team is in desperate need of another bat, Wright has been ok, Murph has hit but is by no means a clean-up hitter and as mentioned earlier Granderson has yet to get off the mat.  D'Arnaud is showing signs and his hustle and heads up play last night will endear him to the fans.  There is a lot of effort but they lack the pay off for that effort as of yet.

The positives include the starting pitchers which have been stellar for the better part of three weeks.  A dud every now and again is par for the course so I tend not to worry, if Gee goes 7 solid for a win today all is well in the world.  The defense has been adequate thus far.  While they aren't the 1999-2000 Mets, they have made the routine play more often than not and have yet to hurt themselves defensively.  Getting Lagares back into the fold will improve that greatly as he may be the best center fielder in baseball (yeah, I said that!).

It was great to be in the ball park last night and I feel like the team is one or two positive moves away from taking off.  One bat, a more reliable bullpen piece and who knows.  Forget ownership and the bullshit they bring to the table.  Leave the constant Matt Harvey drama on the back burner and get behind the team.  Too often we get caught in the mire of what goes on around the team and the focus is off the field and in recent years that was justified, however, this year may be and should be different.  Get on the band wagon bitches!!

April 24, 2014

Mets pitching has been good as of late.

This is great. And the bullpen has been good as well. But, even for the best rotations and pens in the league this is not sustainable. The offense needs to be better. Lucas Duda is getting it together after an 0 for 6 start and that needs to continue and bottom line he needs to get his cuts in against lefties. David Wright had a twelve game hitting streak and then decided to disappear for most of the Cardinals series which concludes today. At this point, Granderson isnt' really worth talking about. He is getting today off which is just what the doctor ordered and it appears Bobby Abreu will get the start in RF. Yikes.

I watched most of the game last night and while I didn't count they stranded quite a few runners. Runners in scoring position with less than two outs isn't going to cut it. Terry seems to be tinkering with the lineup but what he has put out there this Cardinal series isn't getting it done. Daniel Murphy is NOT a clean up hitter I am sorry. Two hole suits him best with Wright batting third and move Duda up.  As a fan it is nice to see the pitching do well but I also want some runs. Give someone a beat down and give this fan base something to get excited about.

Follow me @jwil25

April 19, 2014

Ike Trade Is The Best Thing For Everyone

Well, it was going to happen at some point, and now it has.

With a PTBNL that is expected to be more significant than the first piece coming to the Mets, relief pitching prospect Zack Thornton, we really can't weigh the success of this deal even initially. It seemed like there were stronger offers this spring than a couple of minor prospects, but again, we don't know yet.

Ike was a popular guy in the clubhouse, but the situation had become untenable. Three players trying to shuffle around at first base is a waste of at least a spot on the roster, with Satin unlikely to see any time elsewhere on the field. Ike and Duda, neither of whom seemed to hold any personal animosity toward one another, simply could not co-exist on this team. So, much as I would have liked to see Ike come back in a big way with the Mets, it had become impossible. One of them had to go, and as Ike said yesterday, it looked like it was going to be him for about 8 months. I hope he does do well, and think a smaller market may benefit him mentally.

April 16, 2014

N̶e̶w̶e̶n̶h̶i̶s̶e̶ N̶i̶e̶u̶e̶n̶w̶h̶i̶s̶e̶ Kirk Returns, OF Still In Flux

Michael Baron
Kirk Nieuwenhuis was the beneficiary of the Juan Lagares injury, coming back to the big club last night in a big way. He smacked a homer among his three hits and knocked in three runs to boot. It was a good night for a guy who started in the minors this year after the Mets spent the offseason bringing in Curtis Granderson and Chris Young. If he keeps this up, however, it will add to the outfield conundrum of only so many positions for so many outfielders.

When Lagares returns, he needs to go back to playing every day. A good fourth outfielder is a great tool to have, but there is no reason for there to be a regular four man rotation through the outfield. Eric Young, Jr., still strikes me as the guy who should be the odd man out in all of this, but the team seems bent on having him atop the lineup. Nieuwenuis will have to do quite a bit of the same as last night to prove he belongs up here after his previous stints with the Mets have had a mixed bag of success. Granderson, despite his early struggles, and Chris Young are going to see a lot of time this season if only because of the financial investments in them. Lagares is significantly better than EY, but the franchise's fixation on a fast leadoff hitter seems to be blinding them to that.

Of course all of this could be moot if all of these guys are never healthy at the same time. Maybe this overload of playable outfielders isn't an overload at all, with the team already having to dip into the minors.