Dodgers Rivaling 2007 Mets

Can the Dodgers actually supplant the Mets for the worst collapse in baseball history?  It’s doubtful but with every mounting loss by LA, the possibility looks more possible.

Ten years ago, the Mets suffered what many feel was the worst collapse in baseball history.  On the close of play on September 12, 2007, the Mets had just defeated the Atlanta Braves by a score of 4-3.  They held a 7 game lead over Philadelphia with just 17 games left to play.  With a record of 83-62 it was a foregone conclusion that the Mets would win their second Eastern Division title in back to back seasons for the first time in franchise history.

We all know what happened.  In fact it’s too painful to even think about.  The Mets pitching collapsed and the club went an unbearable 5-12 the rest of the way.  Meanwhile the Philadelphia Phillies went 12-4 down the stretch.  The Mets were defeated by the last place Florida Marlins on the last day of the season, fan appreciation day at Shea Stadium.  The loss with the Phillies’ last day win ended the Mets’ season.

The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers will still likely win the National League West but the discussion of a collapse cannot be discounted.

On August 25 of this season, the Dodgers’ record was 91-36, 55 games over .500.  They led the second place Arizona Diamondbacks by 21 games.  LA looked as if they would set the all-time season win total in baseball history, surpassing the Seattle Mariners’ 116 wins of 2001. However, since that date the Dodgers have gone 1-16 having lost their last 11 in a row.  More importantly their lead has shrunk from 21 games to 9, a 12 game swing!  Now with a 9 game lead with 18 to play, one would think the Dodgers will still lock up the division.  But isn’t that what we thought about our Mets back in 2007?

Last evening, the Dodgers were defeated again by the last place San Francisco Giants.  All of a sudden the Dodgers can’t pitch or hit.  What is going on?

Curtis Granderson must have thought he died and went to heaven when he was traded from the disappointing Mets to the stellar Dodgers.  Grandy made his first appearance in Dodger blue on August 19 in Detroit.  Curtis went 0-4 but scored a run in another Dodger win.  Since Granderson went to the Dodgers, their record has been 6-18.  When you combine that with the Mets record at the time of the trade, Granderson has suffered through a 59-85 season, worse than the current Mets record of 63-80.  Of course no one is blaming the Dodger’s woes on Granderson.  There are many culprits including the Dodgers pitching staff.  Even Clayton Kershaw couldn’t stop the slide when he was battered around by the Dbacks upon his second start after returning from the DL.  The only win the Dodgers have enjoyed during this stretch however was Kershaw’s first game back.

It’s clear if the Dodgers blow this thing, they will surpass the 2007 Mets and the 1964 Phillies as the all-time team of chokers.  But the likelihood is still a longshot considering the Dodgers large lead with little games left to play.  Also, even if the Dodgers lose the division, they likely would be one of the two wildcards.  LA’s lead over the Cardinals, the team trailing the second wildcard, is 16.5 games.  With 18 to play the Dodgers simply have to win 3 games to get into the playoffs.  That would be 95 wins for LA and enough to secure at least one of two wildcards.  The 2007 Mets did not have the luxury of a second wild card as they were shutout from the playoffs altogether.

As for the Dodgers however, after flirting with the most wins in regular season play, anything less than a division title would be devastating.  Let’s not forget the Dodgers’ payroll of 242 million dollars is the largest in the Major Leagues.  While the Dodgers have spent the most money in recent years, it has not been enough to get them the World Series trophy for the first time since 1988. If the Dodgers do not win it all this October, there will likely be a lot of heads rolling at Chavez Ravine.

On August 19, everyone assumed this was the Dodgers’ year.  But after this slide and considering the Dodgers have not even gotten to the World Series after winning the NL West title for four consecutive years now, LA’s dream season may just be the biggest nightmare in franchise history.  And we thought that something like this could only happen to the Mets.

Update 9/13:   The one thing I forgot to account for was the interaction between St. Louis and Milwaukee. The results of games played between these two clubs would effect the Dodgers securing a playoff spot.  With last night’s win by the Dodgers over the Giants, LA clinched a playoff spot no worse than the second wildcard.  That’s because the Cardinals and Brewers have three games together at the end of the season.  Regardless of who wins or loses that series, one team will be eliminated from being able to overtake the Dodgers for a playoff spot.  So the Dodgers will not replace the Mets as the all-time last minute chokers.  However, the Dodgers could still blow the division although they have regained a 10 game lead after Arizona lost to the Rockies last evening.  With a 10 game lead and only 17 to play, it will be a Herculean effort for the Dodgers to blow this thing.

Down Organization

This has been a bad season for the Mets organization all around.  Not only did the Mets fall flat on their face in 2017, most of the farm system played exceptionally poor as well.  It makes a Mets fan wonder what the future of this organization is now that Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith have been promoted to the major league roster.

Here are the final regular season numbers for the Mets farm clubs.  The Las Vegas 51’s finished in last place of the Pacific Coast League’s Southern Division with a record of 56-86. The St. Lucie Mets, the organizations’ high A team of the Florida State League finished a combined record of 63-75. They were 33-35 in the first half, enough to keep them out of last place but 10 games under .500 in the second.  The Columbia Fireflies, the South Atlantic’s Mets’ A team entrant finished an overall 68-70 but were 28-42 in the second half after a 40-28 first half second place finish.  Promotions at this level often change the fortunes of the second half season.

The Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York Penn League (short season A) currently have a dreadful 24-50 record (games continue through Thursday).  Needless to say, the Cyclones have locked up last place in the McNamara Division.  The Appalachian League’s Kingsport Mets (rookie) ended next to the bottom with a 29-37 record and the Gulf Coast Mets finished their rookie league season in last place with a 19-37 record.

The one bright spot was the Binghamton Rumble Ponies who made the playoffs as a wildcard in the AA Eastern League.  The Ponies finished with an outstanding record of 85-54 and will face the Trenton Thunder (Yankees) in the first round of the playoffs beginning this evening weather permitting .  The Mets minor league clubs finished a collective 344-408 (.457) for the season.

While it’s not a sure thing that win-loss records of minor league clubs dictate the future stars of an organization, in the Mets case it might be telling.  Because not only did the Mets minor league clubs perform so badly but only Amed Rosario (2) and Dominic Smith (40) ranked as MLB’s top 100 prospects and they have already been promoted.  Now there are no Mets prospects in the top 100.  Baseball America is also in agreement regarding the Mets farm.

The one bright spot in the Mets farm is in the Dominican Summer League.  The Mets have two teams there and they both went a collective 94-48 (.662).  One club, the Mets2, won their division while the Mets 1 came in second in their division.  Perhaps the Mets have some bright stars acquired through the international draft but we’ll see.

What this all means is if the Mets are to improve dramatically next season and get back on track, they are going to have to do so by getting healthy and getting players from outside the organization.  The Mets cannot assume next season, that the five alleged studs in the rotation will all be healthy and perform to their potential.  There has been no benchmark for that.  They cannot assume that David Wright can contribute anything ever again.  Also the Mets cannot even assume that Michael Conforto will be ready for opening day.  In fact I think the Mets have to assume that what they have seen in Travis d’Arnaud so far is what they are going to get moving forward.  He may never be the catcher the organization had hoped for.

After the Mets won the pennant just two years ago, it seemed as if it was the start of a great era of New York Mets baseball.  But last year’s disappointing ouster in the wildcard game and this year’s debacle have made everyone who follows this team wonder if there will ever be any hope?

It is not going to be easy moving forward for the Mets.  Next season, the Braves, Marlins, and even the Phillies are going to be better.  The Nationals are built for the long haul.  The Wilpons better be willing to open the vault or the Mets could be sitting on the bottom of the pile for years to come.

General Manager Sandy Alderson (if he is back) will need to acquire a third baseman, an outfielder and in my opinion a couple of starters.  An outfielder now becomes a necessity because of the uncertainty of once star in the making Conforto.  A third baseman is obvious because there is no one in the organization currently capable of playing the position.  I guess Asdrubal Cabrera could fit the bill but he’ll be a year older and has had issues staying on the field with a bad knee.  Wilmer Flores occasionally can fill in at third perhaps but on an everyday basis, now way.  The Mets must acquire a starting pitcher or two.  It has really become obvious that Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler may never live up to their potential.  Injuries may have taken their toll on any future the two hinted at a few years ago.  Hopefully the Mets can count on Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to anchor the staff.  Perhaps Steven Matz will finally get his stuff together now that his ulnar nerve has been moved the way deGrom’s was at the end of last year.  But Matz is no sure thing having struggled for most of his young career.

By trading away Jay Bruce, Addison Reed, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, and Neil Walker, the Mets have a lot of cash coming off the books.  Hopefully the Mets are willing to put it back into the team otherwise 2018 is going to be another season of disappointment.

The Fate of the 2017 New York Mets Starting Lineup

The following explains what happened to the players on this year’s Mets opening day starting lineup.  There is one month to go of this dreadful season.  This season, the Mets missed an opportunity to make the playoffs for a third straight season for the first time in their history.  Why did this happen?  There are a lot of reasons.  Here’s a look at the fate of the April 3 starting lineup against the young and improving Atlanta Braves.

1 – Jose Reyes (3B) led off on April 3.  He has played in 118 games and for the most part remained healthy with a trip to the DL recently.  He is still on the team and active but is not the player he was when he first came up with the Mets.  In fairness to Reyes, he was never expected to be an everyday player in 2017.  With David Wright being lost for the entire season, among other injured players on the team, Reyes was forced into starting more often than expected. So far in 118 games in 2017 Reyes has 9 homers and 40 RBI and leads the team with 16 stolen bases (ouch!).  He is a free agent after the season and it is unclear if he will soon play is last game for good with the Mets.

2 – Asdrubal Cabrera (SS) at short became a bit of a prima donna when he was told he may have to play second base or third.  After being asked that, he demanded to be traded.  Ironically he remains on the team, still playing, when so many others are gone or hurt.  Cabrera remains productive with 10 home runs and 41 RBI in 107 games.  He recently reported he hopes to be back next season.  The Mets hold a team option on Cabrera.

3 – Yoenis Cespedes (LF) (Injury) had a disappointing season not due to his production but his inability to stay on the field.  Now done for the season with his second hamstring injury, a point of contention has to be the Mets conditioning staff.   Why in the world do the Mets not have a universal message to their players regarding what are reasonable baseball conditioning exercises during the offseason?  How can it be that two star players (Noah Syndergaard) were allowed to press excessive weights that likely led to injures that kept them off the field for the majority of the season?  This is a question that needs answering and a solution must follow so these types of injuries are minimized in the future.  Cespedes played in just half a season, 81 games.  He had 17 homeruns and batted in 42, not bad considering the games played but certainly not what the Mets were hoping after giving Cespedes a 110 million dollar contract.

4 – Curtis Granderson (CF) (Traded) is now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, traded during the August waiver period.  Granderson had his typical year of starting off dreadfully cold but then heating up and enjoying his usual production.  In Grandy’s final 111 games with the Mets he hit 19 home runs with 52 RBI.

5 -Neil Walker (2B) (Traded) also traded during the wavier period, now roams the infield for the Milwaukee Brewers.  Walker missed time during the season due to injury and when he was playing he did not have nearly the numbers he had in his first season with the Mets. In 73 games, Walker hit 10 homers with 36 RBI.  The Mets could bring back Walker has a free agent however, they can save money and likely get the same production from in-house solutions, such as Wilmer Flores.

6 – Jay Bruce (RF) (Traded) was the most productive offensive player the Mets had in 2017. But because of the poor performance and injuries to so many, like Granderson and Walker, Bruce was sent packing to the Cleveland Indians during the waiver period.  In 103 games, Bruce hit 29 homeruns and batted in 75, the most by far of any hitter on the club.  The Mets have expressed interest to bringing back Bruce during the off season.  And now that Michael Conforto will likely require shoulder surgery and may miss part of the 2018 season, bringing back Bruce may be a smart move.  But the Mets better be ready to pony up.  There is a slim market this off season and Bruce will likely be able to choose the contract he wants.

7 – Lucas Duda (1B) (Traded) once again could not get through a season without injury.  Not that he missed a lot of time but he did suffer a hyperextended elbow on a play at first base that caused him to miss some time.  With the Mets ultimately going nowhere, he was traded before the July 31 deadline, sending him to Tampa where he is enjoying similar success that he did with the Mets.  In 75 games, Duda hit 17 home runs and batted in 37.  Duda was traded because he is a free agent, the Mets season was already toast, and they needed to make room for Dominic Smith.

8 -Rene Rivera (C ) (Claimed)  Rivera, primarily the backup catcher got a lot of work because Travis d’Arnaud just can’t stay off the disabled list and Rivera’s production was on par with d’Arnaud.  Rivera was eventually claimed off of waivers by the Chicago Cubs where he is enjoying a division title run. In 54 games, Rivera hit 8 home runs and batted in 23. Who knows, the Mets could always bring Rivera back for ’18 but likely the Mets will go with a combination of d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki who has shown much improved offensive skills since being called up.

9 – Noah Syndergaard (P) (Injury) Syndergaard was pitching great until he tore a lat muscle that has kept him out of action since the end of April.  Syndergaard explained that he wanted to build more muscle with the silly idea he could throw the ball even harder than before.  Most experts believe this extra muscle mass created an imbalance that led to this injury.  As with Cespedes’s injuries, this type of lifting exercises is detrimental to baseball activity.  Thor had a record of 1-2 with a 3.29 before going down.  He is expected to make a rehab start this weekend and it’s unclear if he will start at the major league level prior to the end of the season.

Five of the starting nine are gone from the organization. Of the five Jay Bruce might be the one to return but I believe it’s unlikely.  Cespedes and Syndergaard will be back.  Reyes won’t but’s it’s possible Cabrera will.  As a bonus, here are the rest of the players that appeared during that afternoon on opening day back in April.

Travis d’Arnaud (C ) d’Arnaud (pinch ran on opening day) just can’t get through a season without getting  hurt.  This season he stuck his hand out in front of the plate and got hit with a bat sending him to the DL for a while.  Early in the season he was not particular productive but has been better of late.  However his defense and handling of pitchers is suspect.  Catcher is a position the Mets may have to think about during the off season.  In 91 games, d’Arnaud has 10 dingers and 38 runs batted in.  He likely will get one more shot with the Mets in 2018 but if Plawecki continues to hit as he has, he could possibly become the club’s favorite to start.  He’s already better defensively that d’Arnaud but that bar is not too high.

Wilmer Flores (Inf) Flores (pinch hit on opening day) has remained healthy all season and has contributed.  However, his future is not the replacement for David Wright at third.  He just doesn’t have the quick hands or arm to be a consideration as an everyday third baseman.  However, with a weak market at second base this off season, Flores might be the option there.  His bat is much more consistent against righties and lefties and will likely be more productive if not more than Neil Walker.  In 107 games, Flores has 17 home runs and 48 RBI.

Hansel Robles (P), (relieved on opening day) was truly the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Mets pitching staff.  There were times when Robles was just brilliant then other times where he was simply awful.  Too often he tried to throw the ball through the catcher and forgot about pitching.  There is no question to Robles’s talent however he needs to learn to be more consistent in the future.  Robles is 7-5 with a 4.26 ERA.

Fernando Salas (P) (DFA) (also relieved on opening day) was not good at all in 2017.  He struggled all season long and was finally designated for assignment to make room for other players.  He was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA.

Robert Gsellman (P) (pitched the final inning of a 6-0 win on opening day) had a down year compared to his miraculous work of 2016 that helped a surging Mets team win the first wildcard spot.  This season he struggled to regain the form that looked so promising last season.  It didn’t help that he bad-mouthed General Manager Sandy Alderson either but apparently he has patched things up.  Gsellman is 5-6 with a 5.60 ERA.  Considering all the injuries to Mets pitchers this season, Gsellman cannot be ruled out for a spot in 2018.

Notes:  This weekend, once again, the Mets will be the center of attention.  This time it will be tomorrow in Houston when they play a day night doubleheader.  It will be the first games back in Houston since Hurricane Harvey devastated the area.   Of course the Mets were involved in the first game back in New York after the 9/11 attacks.  That was September 21, 2001 when Mike Piazza hit his most famous homerun.  Also the Mets were playing a Sunday night game in Philadelphia on May 1, 2011 when the crowd started chanting “USA, USA…” in response to Osama Bin Laden being killed by Seal Team 6.  The Mets seem to have an unusual knack for being in these situations.  Perhaps former Met Carlos Beltran will have a Piazza-like moment.

The Baseball Owners of New York

They gave us absolutely nothing this season.  At every turn it has been a colossal disappointment.  The rotation was going to be one dreams are made of.  Perhaps they would be the best since the 1971 Baltimore Orioles that sported four 20 game winners.  Of course no one expects a 20 game winner in this modern age of pitching specialty but you get the point.  Were told runs would come in bunches. They did at times but there were many power outages along the way too.  The biggest culprit was the pitching staff, no doubt about it.  In games when scoring three runs or less, the Mets are a pathetic 4-40. Most teams have a losing record when scoring three or less but a .91 winning percentage says a whole lot.

With the expectations for both New York teams back in the spring, what Mets fan couldn’t wait for these four subway series games?  This is when the Mets would complete the transition from a Yankees town to a Mets town.  Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, and Matz might just shut those Yankees out for four games in a row.  How naïve and stupid we can be.  Did you actually think the New York baseball gods would allow such a thing?

Do you realize the Yankees have not had a losing season since 1992?  Since then they never finished less than six games over .500 and that was just twice.  I’ve lost count of how many times the Yankees have been in the playoffs since.  Even during their alleged rebuild of the last few seasons while waiting for astronomical contracts to expire, the Yankees still continued to contend  playing winning baseball.  If retained memoires start around five years old, there are thirty year old Yankee fans that have never experienced a losing season.  That’s astonishing and frankly a marvel of sports business.

Then of course, there’s the Mets.

While we heard the propaganda of how the Mets farm system would be rebuilt and stars would be abounding, the Yankees quietly actually did it.  Call me cynical but I’m beginning to believe that no one will ever be able to turn the Mets into a perennial contender, maybe not even Theo Epstein, the greatest general manager of our time.  We had our once-per-decade playoff appearance in 2015 and a bonus wildcard game in 2016. What more can a Mets fan expect?

The New York Mets remain a New York sports punching bag, much like football’s Jets and basketball’s Knicks.  Always promise—rarely fulfilled.   I know I am being unfair to the likes of Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith.  The latter two look promising and Conforto is on his way to being a star much the way David Wright did in the mid-2000s.  I know the Mets signed an exceptional five tool talent in Yoenis Cespedes and still do have a potential starting staff that can compete with any team.  The problem is that outside of 2015, the Mets have been unable to put it all together.  Chronic injuries to key players continue to plague this team.  Why?  What is with the medical and conditioning staff of this club?

The Yankees have injuries too.  Clint Frazier, Matt Holiday, Greg Bird, and Starlin Castro are all on the DL but yet the Yanks continue to hang in there with call-ups. Who are the Mets calling up to help them out, Matt Reynolds?

So while the Yankees have won the first three games of the home and home subway series, we hang on to news that Matt Harvey threw three scoreless innings in Brooklyn and Jeurys Familia threw a scoreless inning in St. Lucie.  Pop the champagne, some positive news.  Let’s all celebrate.  By the way does anyone realize how bad the Mets farm teams are doing this year?

Except for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the only farm club that should make the playoffs, the other teams are flat out bad.  Not just bad, really bad.  The Yankee farm teams by contrast are all doing very well.  The AAA Las Vegas 51’s are in last place of their division in the Pacific Coast League, 15 games out.  The Scranton RailRiders, the Yanks’ AAA club has a 13 game lead in their division of the International League.  Binghamton sits in second place of the Eastern League comfortably in a playoff spot but they trail the Trenton Thunder (yes, the Yankees’ AA club) by 7.5 games.  The Florida State League – The Tampa Yankees in first, the St. Lucie Mets in last.  In the South Atlantic League—the Charleston RiverDogs (Yanks again) lead the division while the Columbia Fireflies (Mets) are tied for last.  The New York Penn League’s Staten Island Yankee are in first, 19.5 games ahead of the last place Brooklyn Cyclones.  Shall I go on?  The Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League, yep first place.  The Kingsport Mets, well not last place but next to last.  The Gulf Coast League Mets are also in last place.  Dreadful, simply dreadful.

Look, I know you can’t judge prospects simply based on win-loss records of minor league teams but consider that only Smith and Rosario were in the top 100 MLB prospects that came out earlier this season.  That list is littered with a slew of Yankee prospects.  The Mets have had higher draft picks but yet the Yankees have the better farm.  What does that say about Mets scouting?  Makes you think there is not much hope for the future and when the Mets’ front office always seems to be concerned about payroll you wonder how are they are ever going to get better.

It’s possible that next year, the rotation gets their act together, that the young players like Conforto, Rosario, and Smith continue to blossom and turn the Mets back into a playoff contender.  But after being so beat down by this organization that always promises big things and rarely delivers, it’s difficult to believe.  There is no more passionate a fan base than Mets fans.   They deserve so much more than is delivered by those in charge of this organization.

There is one more game for the Mets this season that will see a packed house.  That will be tonight when the Mets are likely once again embarrassed by the baseball owners of New York.

It’s Not How Much, It’s How Well

I rarely listen to sports talk radio.  I find it to be a vast wasteland of angry fans that are angry at the world because their team is not winning.  However, by accident my radio was tuned to WFAN sports talk radio the day after the Jay Bruce trade.  There was a Mets fan railing about how the Mets are a cheap organization and that they only traded Bruce to the Cleveland Indians because they were the only team willing to pay the entirety of his remaining salary.  If they had traded Bruce to the Yankees, the fan went on to say, the Mets would have received two prospects instead of one even though the Yankees wouldn’t pay all but some of Bruce’s salary.  The fan’s point being that the Mets are cheap and the deal was nothing more than a salary dump.

Well I think this Mets fan’s sentiment is not unique.  And he’s right, the deal was a salary dump.  Keith Hernandez said as much during last night’s telecast.  Yes, the Mets have a reputation of being a cheap ball club.  However, it’s hard to defend that stance when you delve into the facts.  I know we live in a world where facts are unpopular however, I still go by them.

The Mets’ team salary this year was 115 million on opening day.  That ranked as 12th in the majors.  It’s quite a bit more than the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Houston Astros, the Colorado Rockies, and the Cleveland Indians—all teams certain to be in the playoffs.  In addition there are eight other teams with lower salaries that have a better record than the Mets.  Therefore I conclude that making the argument that the Mets are cheap is not a valid one.

Furthermore, the Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox are the top three spending teams in baseball and all three of them will make the playoffs, almost a guarantee.  This evidence supports’ the fan’s conclusion that spending more means winning more.  But consider that the Giants, Blue Jays, Rangers, Tigers, Orioles, and Angels all spent more than the Mets and they are having just dreadful seasons.  The point of this is that it is not how much money a team spends but it’s how well the money is spent.

I think a better argument could be made that the Mets did not spend as well as they could have during last off season.  The post mortem of this season will be that the highly talented pitching staff of the ages exploded on the launch pad.  The Mets are almost in danger of having a worse team ERA than the 1962 Mets.  That takes some doing.  I’m not saying that the Mets should have spent money to retain Bartolo Colon but perhaps a veteran starter or two would have been warranted especially considering so many injuries the Mets starters were recovering from.   But once again to defend the Mets, they thought they had good insurance in Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.  The best laid plans…

Also let’s not forget the 110 million dollar contract the Mets doled out to Yoenis Cespedes.  Was that being cheap?  Perhaps if Cespedes worked harder to be in baseball playing shape as opposed to being the next Charles Atlas, he wouldn’t have had such a disappointing injury plagued season.  Neil Walker was a disaster and Travis d’Arnaud, although hitting better lately, was again a big disappointment when it could have counted.  Suffice to say, a lot went wrong during this 2017 season, a year the Mets were supposed to go to the playoffs for a third straight season.  Instead Mets fans had to watch the team across the river that was supposed to be in a rebuilding year do everything right.  Every call-up was great, they could do no wrong.   So in regard to the Bruce trade, did you honestly want to see him belting home runs over that high school right field fence in the Bronx, especially next week against the Mets?  How much of a beating are you willing to take?

I get the fan’s frustration.  Given the media mecca of New York, the available revenue streams, there really is no reason that Mets fans must suffer the way other small market teams do like the Cincinnati Reds.  The fact that the Yankees have not had a losing record since 1992 while the Mets have had only a handful of winning seasons during that same time is simply unacceptable.  I do not blame any Mets fan for complaining about how the team is run.  Their record speaks for itself.  The Mets organization is lacking in many respects.  But they do spend enough money.  They just need to figure out how to spend it better, how to get maximum value in their investment.  And if the money they save not having to pay Jay Bruce for the last month and a half of the season helps net them a good piece for 2018, then it was a deal worth making.  More importantly I won’t have to watch Bruce embarrass the Mets next week more than they already have embarrassed themselves in 2017.

Dodgers 86 the Mets

The title of my post is very clever don’t you think?  You see to “86” something means to get rid of or throw something out.  You can google it and see the various claims to its origin.  And of course I’m making a reference to the ‘86 Mets because they steamrolled over everyone in 1986 like the Dodgers are doing this season.  However, the Dodgers are on pace to blow past the Mets 108 wins of 1986 and the Mariners’ all-time record of 116 wins of 2001.

The Mets were no match for the Dodgers the past weekend and would have been better off having forfeited the entire series and take a nice rest over the weekend.   The thought that crossed my mind while the Mets were being bludgeoned was why Sandy Alderson ever let Justin Turner get away.  But the reality of the Mets season squarely falls on the pitching.  What in the world will Sandy do over the winter to correct this mess?  Can he stay pat and just hope the pitching finally gets healthy.  I think not.

The Mets will hopefully have learned a lesson and go out and get some serviceable veteran pitchers to complement the young Mets staff, at least the ones that remain healthy.  Alderson has already started to re-fortify the bullpen by bringing in pitchers from the Lucas Duda and Addison Reed trades.  Plus he got AJ Ramos from the Marlins for prospects.  So Sandy has already begun to build the bullpen for 2018.

The Mets will need to figure out who plays second, third and catches.  Can the Mets honestly count on Travis d’Arnaud anymore?  It was one thing to live with his defense if was hitting to the potential that had been placed on him.  But the reality is he’s not much of an offensive threat either.  Face it, the Mets need a catcher.  Forget David Wright.  Even if he were to come back, what can the Mets expect from a third baseman that has severe back and neck issues at the age of 35 years old?  Even a healthy 35 year old third baseman is suspect.  It’s time the Mets figure out who’s going to play third on a daily bases.  And no, it can’t be Jose Reyes or Asdrubal Cabrera.

Second base, any ideas?  Dilson Herrera, the prospect to inherit the position was traded last season for Jay Bruce.  Herrera has had shoulder issues this season and has not played for the Reds’ AAA club since July so he may have not been the answer anyway.  Neil Walker looks as if he’s lost a lot since his back surgery a year ago.  He will likely not be back next season.  Could Wilmer Flores play second on a daily basis?  Maybe but I suspect the Mets will be looking at options outside the organization.

And who will manage this team.  Will the Mets really bring back Terry Collins?  I think a new voice is needed in that clubhouse.  Not sure who that voice might belong to but hopefully it’s someone new.

The sooner this disastrous season is over the better.  This has to be one of the most disappointing baseball seasons in Mets history.  With 52 games left it’s time to start thinking about next year.

Moves Begin

The Mets traded Lucas Duda, clearing room for future first baseman Dominic Smith but he’s not coming up just yet.  He will be up in the next several weeks.  So will Amed Rosario, the highly touted future Mets’ shortstop.  Right, because what’s the rush?

I think the Mets are just way too conservative.  If the Mets really believe this is a lost year, and it is, then why not bring them up now?  What is a couple more weeks in Las Vegas going to do for these two players?  Vegas is about a million games under .500 and going nowhere.  I really don’t understand this lack of urgency, even if only symbolic.  At least give Mets fans something to be excited about.  Or are we still overly concerned with Asdrubal Cabrera’s feelings?

I liked Duda but he was never going to evolve more for the Mets than he already had.  He was a mediocre fielder and a very streaky hitter.  When he got hot, he was a marvel to watch but when he went cold, you wondered what ever happened to Ike Davis.  Of course in the American League and mostly hitting as a DH, don’t be surprised if his power numbers rocket.  That could be especially true playing home games in Tampa Bay with no pressure matching anything like playing in New York.  Of course his stay in TB will likely be temporary since Lucas will be a free agent after this season.

Meanwhile the Mets prod along never being able to serious threaten to get to the .500 mark.  It’s ho-hum as they win a couple then drop a couple.  With the trade deadline just a few days away it’s likely the Mets will move Cabrera, Addison Reed, and perhaps Curtis Granderson.  What they will get back won’t be much but perhaps it will help bolster a farm system clearly needing some new talent.  Most of the Mets farm clubs are not having great seasons but one should never judge a farm by win loss records.  However I do judge them by top 100 players and only the soon to be promoted Smith and Rosario make the list.  Meanwhile the Yankees, Braves, Nationals and other clubs seem to have many.  I thought Sandy Alderson was about a strong system.  What happened?

On the bright side, and if you can judge talent by wins and loss, the Mets two minor league clubs in the Dominican Summer League are doing exceptionally well.  The DSL Mets 1 and DSL Mets 2 clubs have identical records of 31-15. Mets 1 is in second place in their respective division and Mets 2 lead their division.  Again, I’m not saying that means anything but perhaps the Mets are doing well in the international draft.

Of course players in the DSL do not help us today as we already head into the last two months of the baseball season.  But maybe the promotion of Smith and Rosario will.  Let me know when they come up.  I’m going to take a nap.