Archive Page 2
September 30th, 2013 by Lou
Well I did it. I broke down and went to a Mets game this year, yesterday in fact. I vowed I would not go until things begin to turn around. But I had a groupon with reasonable prices and thought it would be nice to be there when the Mets induct Mike Piazza into the Mets Hall of Fame. After all, I was there when Mike played his final game as a Met on the last day of the 2005 season so it only seemed right to be there again.
I’m glad I went. It was a spectacular day and the ceremony was very well done. Finally the Mets did something that really warranted no criticism even if loud mouth Chris Carton of WFAN, the former radio home of the Mets (more about this later) said it was dumb to do it on the last day of the season. Well apparently it was not so dumb after all. The ballpark was sold out and the roar at the mention of Piazza’s name was deafening. There were empty seats here and there but something no one could have known by watching on the TV was that the concourses were packed with people. And I venture to say that if all those people milling about the concourse were to have been forced into their seats, many would be left standing. It literally was difficult to move around inside the ballpark.
There is a point I would like to make here and I certainly hope the Mets front office was paying attention yesterday. While the baseball people need to make some big changes over the winter in terms of player personnel they should realize this: their team has a remarkable fan base. For Citi Field to be sold out on the last day, yes most there to greet and cheer for Piazza, it should let the brain trust know their fans are still around and they are a loyal group. The outfield reserved stands were completely filled with The 7 Line Army, all with thunder sticks and wearing shirts that said “Loyal to the Last Out”. I admire that but there should be a subtext on the shirts that says “but we aren’t suckers either”. As I said the main grandstands were filled and the place looks fantastic when it is full of Mets fans.
So here’s the point. Citi Field could be like yesterday every day. All the fans ask for is a competitive team, a team that at least has a shot at making the post season. Sure, there will be those that bitch and moan if the team doesn’t get to the playoffs but there are always going to be those fans that are unhappy unless their team wins the World Series. However, a team from New York with a legitimate shot at getting to the post season year after year will consistently draw well.
Attendance for the Mets has gone from 3.6 million in 2009 when Citi Field first opened to about 2.2 million this year. Yesterday was an indication of how exciting the place will be when a winning team is put on the field. Will it be next season? We have been hearing that for a long time now. The bad contracts are done. The payroll is low with money to spend. Well we’ll see. All I can say is—Sandy, grab a bat and take a couple swings. You’re up.
September 27th, 2013 by Lou
Last evening, the Mets lost their 46th game at Citi Field this season. They just came off a road trip where they swept the Phillies then took two out of three from the Reds. The Mets actually completed their road season with a winning record of 41-40. You know what they say, play .500 on the road and win at home. Well at least the Mets took care of half that equation.
Milwaukee is having the same kind of season the Mets are having—terrible. They had a pitcher on the mound who hit David Wright in the head because he couldn’t seem to put the ball anywhere he wanted. Yet the Mets once again left a ton of runners on base to lose in another lack luster performance. So what is it about home that makes the Mets so bad? Is it that the ballpark is so big? Well they brought the fences in two seasons ago and other teams don’t seem to have a problem playing there. Is it the fact that no fans show up? Well the problem is certainly in the team’s control. Win and they will come.
The first two seasons at Citi Field, the Mets recorded an 88 and 74 record. 41-40 in the inaugural season then their Citi best 47-34 in 2010. Since that time the Mets have gone 102-138 with three games left on the schedule for 2013. This ballpark should be a haven for them with their outstanding pitching and fine outfield defense. The problem has been driving in runners on base.
For the first three seasons, the Mets hid behind the complaint that the ballpark was simply too big. And it was, no question about that. As I have blogged about before, you have to wonder what in the world the Wilpons were thinking. Their star player, David Wright, is an opposite field hitter so what did they do? Make it almost impossible for him to hit home runs to right field. Their thinking was that Jose Reyes would hit a ton of triples into the Mo Zone. Well that never happened. Reyes was let go by the new regime and Wright’s long drives to right died on the warning track frustrating the third baseman. But while the Great Wall of Flushing was in place, as Howie Rose coined, the Mets still managed to play over .500 those first three seasons (124-119). Sandy Alderson brought the walls in for 2012 and since then the Mets have gone 66-93. So clearly while the walls did need to be brought in, that reason alone is not what is wrong with the Mets at home.
Are they uninspired playing in front of an empty house? Well could be but these are professional athletes and they should know that the fans are not showing up because one—its expensive and two—they stink. If the Mets are winning, fans will come regardless of the price of a hot dog.
The Mets drew 3.2 million fans in 2009, the first season Citi Field opened. Not bad considering the Mets had come off of two disappointing seasons having lost out on a playoff spot the last day. They had their first losing season in five years in 2009 and Citi has about thirteen to fourteen thousand fewer seats than Shea Stadium had. Since ’09 the Mets attendance has continued to fall. They drew 2.6 million in 2010, 2.4 million in 2011, and 2.2 million in 2012. Their attendance this season is just over 2 million. Understand this is tickets sold not the number of fans that showed up to the ballpark. Did you see the game last night? The box score says there were 21,000 at the game. Where, in line at the Shake Shack?
So while attendance is dwindling, this cannot be an excuse. There is no worse attendance than in Tampa Bay and that team is headed to the playoffs. If the Rays played in Flushing, the place would be packed every night.
So why do the Mets play better on the road?
It likely is psychological. They probably feel more relaxed away from New York. The media scrutiny, constantly comparing to the Yankees (who is not the team they used to be either) likely wears on the many young players on the team. Perhaps the Mets are so aware of the fans frustrations, they are pressing way too much at home. Likely the reason is the Mets play better on the road than at home is more coincidence than anything else.
The problem really has nothing to do with where the games are played. It’s scoring runs. Here’s an interesting statistic. This season when the Mets score first, they are 47-30 (.610). This stat supports the fact the Mets have very good pitching. When they get a lead first, their pitching, and since acquiring Eric Young Jr. and bringing up Juan Lagares, their defense is strong enough to hold the lead. However, when the other team scores first the Mets are 26-48 (.351). They simply lack the offense to come back when being behind. They lack the three run home run that Earl Weaver was so in love with.
It’s clear what needs to be done over the winter. I’ll exhale when I see it happen. Sandy Alderson has a big job ahead of him this off season. He has got to improve the offense dramatically and he may have to part with some prize jewels in the process. Four losing seasons in a row is enough. It’s high time the Mets turn the corner or the crowds will continue to diminish even more than they already have.
September 19th, 2013 by Lou
2010 – 79-83, fourth place, 18 games back
2011 – 77-85, fourth place, 25 games back
2012 – 74-88, fourth place, 24 games back
2013 – 68-83, fourth place, 21.5 games back currently
The best the current Mets can do is to tie their 2010 record if they run the table over their last eleven games. That’s very unlikely. To do better than last season, the Mets must win seven of their last eleven games, also very unlikely. With that said, unless there is an unprecedented surge in these final games the Mets are destined to end worse than the season before for the fourth consecutive season. Sandy’s Mets continue to get worse every season instead of getting better.
I know there were a lot of unfortunate circumstances. Front and foremost, there was the Bernie Madoff situation that tied Alderson’s hands of spending any significant money. There were the bad contracts doled out by Omar Minaya that also hampered the new GM. There was a farm system in complete disarray that also contributed to the decline of this franchise. So there are a lot of reasons why the Mets continue to get worse each season. But I would expect that Sandy would say the buck stops at his desk and he would not offer excuses as to why the Mets have gone in the wrong direction since he took over.
In fairness the Mets did finish far worse in 2009 finishing with a record of 70-92. So in defense of Sandy one could argue that his ’10 club, the first year he was GM, improved by nine games but that would almost seem silly. I would defend Sandy in other ways however. He hired Paul DePodesta and J.P. Riccardi, two of the top executives in the industry of baseball and gave the Mets front office instant credibility. Together they have completely rebuilt the farm system and changed the way the ballclub drafts players. It is clear that a successful team must have a strong foundation. Currently, the Mets farm system is ranked at 12th among the 30 teams. Their system would be higher if there were more top offensive prospects. There they are thin but the farm is loaded with pitching, another element of a strong system.
In addition to the talent in the farm is how their farm system has changed in terms of player development. Instead of the myriad of approaches and styles from one level to another that was being overseen by a dysfunctional front office, a unified approach in training and teaching young players has been adopted. The entire scouting structure was revamped under Alderson, building a strong foundation that will feed the Major League team or fuel trades for years to come—hopefully. Player development is the primary focus, even more so than winning. But if player development is done well, winning becomes a by-product of the process. This past season, all but one farm team had winning records with four teams making the post season including the A level Savannah Sand Gnats that won the league championship. Just a few seasons ago, the Mets farm was barren with most clubs having losing records. So give Sandy credit for the farm’s improvement. Unfortunately this effort is not very sexy when it comes to the back pages of the New York Daily News and the New York Post.
Baseball fans in the New York area don’t sit around looking at their team’s minor league games to fulfill their baseball jollies. They want the Mets to be a winner and are getting more and more tired of the dreadful show we see night after night. Yes, there was a period of time this season, from about the middle of June to the end of July where the Mets were exciting to watch. In fact they had one of the better records in the league over that period of time. Once David Wright pulled a hamstring and Marlon Byrd was traded, and Matt Harvey was shut down with a tear in his UCL, the team has been as awful as anything we have seen the last four seasons. Mets fans are disgusted and one need only look at the thousands upon thousands of empty seats at beautiful Citi Field to understand that fact.
Last night’s come from behind win against the San Francisco Giants was exciting and inspiring. But let’s not kid ourselves. The Mets are very much in need of serious offensive help. Josh Satin is a nice player but he’s not an everyday player. Having him on the bench or in the lineup in a day game after a night game would be great but the Mets need some serious retooling. The current roster as structured simply does not work. I’m not saying there is no talent, there is. The pitching for the most part has been outstanding. The outfield defense was a joke at the beginning of the season. Now it’s one of the best in the league. The problem is scoring runs. The Mets simply do not score enough runs to take the pressure off of the pitching and the defense. You look at a team like the Red Sox. They pound out runs night after night. Their pitching can feel confident that if they make a mistake, their offense will pick them up. That’s sorely lacking in Flushing. The Mets need a couple of guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark consistently. They can be obtained through free agency or trades but they must come.
Next season, the Mets are on the hook for only 33 million dollars. (Only—as if I couldn’t use even a small percentage of that.) For a major league team, that is not a lot of money in the 21st century. When you add in tendered contracts and minimum salaries to the young players, the 2014 salary will be around 50 to 55 million. I think it’s clear when looking around baseball that a winning team fields a salary of at least around 100 million. Obviously, some teams spend more. Sandy has said he will have money to spend. Jeff Wilpon said the Mets have money to spend. If this is lip service, Mets fans will know. We are not stupid. The Mets are already beginning to promote ticket sales for 2014. How’s that going Jeff? I’ll tell you who will not be buying any tickets for 2014 just yet. That would be me. In fact I have not gone to one Mets game this season and the reason is simple. I am disgusted with this team.
I understand the approach the front office is taking and I agree with it. However what frightens me is this club’s history. Ownership (the Wilpons) is meddlesome. That has been reported many times over the years. I just cannot help but think that the Wilpons, specifically Jeff who is running the show these days, will screw up what Alderson is trying to do. I have already read rumors that after next season, Sandy may step down. Why? Because he wants to retire and give the job to either DePodesta or Ricciardi? Or he too has had enough of Jeff’s input. Omay Minaya gets a lot of blame for what happened to the Mets post 2006 and rightly so. But he was a good soldier and there is enough innuendo to suggest that Jeff Wilpon had a lot to do with the demise as well.
Last night was broadcaster Gary Cohen’s twenty-fifth anniversary of being hired by the Mets. During the telecast, Cohen said in all those years the Mets have been to the post season three times. While there are other teams who have done so less, it is a disgrace for a New York team to boast such a poor record. It’s hard for me to think this team’s management has finally decided to embrace the formula for sustained success and keep their mitts out of the pie. If Sandy truly has autonomy, it will be proven over this coming winter. If we get to April with the same cast of AAA plus players are surrounding David Wright, we’ll know he doesn’t. And if that is the case, I will do my part to keep Citi Field’s seats empty. Empty seats mean no revenue. No revenue means the owners, no matter how much they may want to own a baseball team, would have to consider selling. I have followed this team since I was a little boy, almost since their beginning but I am losing my patience. I have enjoyed seeing the young players develop and the hope they give us but now is the time for the next step.
While I could never in a million years become a Yankee fan, there are twenty eight other teams I could root for. I have an affinity for the one in New England, having lived in Boston many years ago. I think I have watched more Red Sox games over the last couple of months than Mets games, not hard to do with today’s access. I could be persuaded to change my allegiance but that’s really up to the Mets now. I need improvement for next season or I will have to consider going to Boston a couple a weekends during the summer to spend my baseball dollars.
September 13th, 2013 by Lou
The Mets will no longer call WFAN their radio home come the 2014 season. They will have to find a new radio outlet. The Mets have been on WFAN since July 1, 1987 when the country music radio station switched formats and became the country’s first all sports talk radio station. At the time, one wondered what talk show hosts could talk about all day long involving sports. Now we know—relatively little, over and over again.
The Mets were on a number of radio stations from their inception but nothing lasted as long as their relationship with WFAN. Mets games had been broadcast on WHN 1050 when the country music station morphed into the FAN in ’87. The following year, the station would move to 660 on the AM dial replacing WNBC and inheriting 50,000 watts of power (and Don Imus). With that amount of output, the Mets, good or bad, could be heard as far away as Maine to Florida. But now WFAN has decided they can’t take the losing anymore and are bringing the Yankees to their station leaving the Mets out in the cold. Where the Mets turn up on the radio is yet to be determined but you have to figure that ESPN Radio (WEPN-FM at 97.8 in New York) has to be interested. They brought the Rangers and Knicks over from the FAN several years ago. I’m sure they would love to add the Mets to their stable. However, that would leave the Mets off of the AM dial so it’s possible another deal could be struck to simulcast their games. Some have suggested that ESPN is not interested and that the Mets could end up where the Yankees were, on WCBS 880. Both WCBS and WFAN are owned by the same company, Infinity Broadcasting. WCBS is also a 50,000 watt AM channel but the position of their antenna makes for poorer reception on the Jersey side of Manhattan.
Of course that is the big concern for Mets fans listening on the radio—signal strength. Many AM channels simply do not have the horse power to send Mets games up and down the east coast. Some have a tough time making it to Jersey. FM is a much clearer signal but the range is much less than that of AM. So no doubt, the Mets will not be heard as far and wide as they are today.
You cannot blame WFAN for wanting the Yankees over the Mets. It is a matter of advertising dollars. The sports talk channel will be able to charge more to advertisers because the Yankees’ ratings are so much better than the Mets. It’s simple. The Yankees win, the Mets don’t.
About two thirds of baseball fans in the tri-state area are Yankee fans, or at least they say they are. I say that because in the late 1960s and the 1980s, the percentages were reversed. What I really think it comes down to is one third of fans are hardcore Mets fans, one third are hardcore Yankee fans, and the other third are swing fans. They root for whichever team is better. Come on, you know them. I have a few friends who used to be Mets fans that became Yankee fans in the late 90s. One I know in particular became a Mets fan again in ’06 just to turn around after the ’07 and ’08 collapses and become a Yankee fan once again. How fans like this sleep at night is a puzzle to me.
What is interesting in all this is that the FAN is about to embark on a relationship with a team that could be headed in the opposite direction from where they have been for two decades. The Yankees have grown old, there is not much in the farm system, and the free agent market is not what it used to be. The point being, the Yankees may not be able to spend themselves out of the predicament they find themselves in today. The current trend has teams signing their young stars to healthy, not ridiculous, contracts and in return keeping their players under control much longer than in the past, making it more complicated to acquire these players in their prime.
Can Andy Pettitte pitch till he’s 50? Derek Jeter has become very fragile and played very little this year with an ankle injury sustained in last year’s playoffs. They are stuck with A-Rod for four more years and must give him countless guaranteed millions. Their best prospects are at the very lower levels of the minors and the new collective bargaining rules do not make it easy to sign free agents. For 2014, the Yanks will be very close to the 189 million dollar salary threshold. Currently the Yanks are on the hook for 90 million in 2014 for just seven players. They have to fill out their roster for fewer than 100 million more to stay under the tax threshold.
By contrast the Mets have a much younger team with some very talented pitching already at the MLB level and a lot more coming up from below and almost ready for the Show. That is because general manager Sandy Alderson with his sidekicks of Paul DePodesta and J.P. Riccardi have been stock piling talented pitchers through the amateur free agent draft and through trades, specifically the Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey deals that netted pitchers Zach Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, and catcher Travis d’Arnaud. They have also been very good at signing many Latin American players not subject to the draft.
I know this is a difficult argument to defend with the Mets in their current state—that is losing every day while the Yankees are fighting for a wild card spot. But the Mets are without David Wright and Ike Davis due to injury. Marlon Byrd was traded to the Pirates for Vic Black, a young flame thrower for the pen and promising second baseman Dilson Herrera. The problem currently as 2013 winds down is the Mets simply have no way of driving in runs. But Alderson has vowed to bring in players for next season and even if Matt Harvey elects to have Tommy John surgery (the likeliest scenario), their pitching is still in good shape for next season.
There is no question the Mets will need to improve their offense. Alderson will need to sure up the corner outfield position with contact hitters with some power. Shortstop is likely another area that will require help from the outside. Don’t be surprised to see the Mets go after a front line pitcher as well with Harvey’s uncertainty. Maybe Tim Lincecum is reborn at Citi Field. And unlike the Yankees, the Mets will have money to spend with Johan Santana and Jason Bay coming off the books. Alderson is likely to take the Red Sox approach, looking for middle tier free agents and perhaps bringing in a big bat via trade. The Mets will have the room to bring in significant salary. The Mets are committed to four players to around thirty-three million, ten of which is for buyouts to Santana and Bay. There are only two players under contract for next year, that’s Wright and Jonathan Niese. The Mets say the Bernard Madoff situation is behind them and they have money to spend. Well for us fans, let’s hope so.
What I am suggesting is that there is a strong possibility that the Mets could be the team of the future in New York while the Yankees sink in the standings. Many baseball executives and scouts have said the same thing so yes, it is wishful thinking on my part but I am not the only one saying it. As Matt Cerone of Metsblog.com wrote, “it might be a ‘buy-high’ on the Yankees and ‘sell-low’ on the Mets” situation.
Really though, once the game starts, or the pre-game, do we really care what radio station the Mets are on? First of all, if you have the MLB At Bat app which costs about twenty bucks a year, you can listen to any major league game, either team broadcast, from your computer, iPad, iPhone, smartphone, and likely your toaster in a couple of years. The games are crystal clear and you can hear them anywhere on the planet (well… where there is cell service or Wi-Fi). Plus many people have satellite radio where you can also find every radio broadcast. The bigger concern for me is that the Mets can keep Howie Rose and Josh Lewin intact. They are two of the best radio broadcasters in the business and although they are hired by the station, the Mets appear to be the ones determining who broadcasts their games.
At the moment it may look like another bloody nose to Mets fans but in a couple years, WFAN may regret braking up one of the longest marriages in baseball.
August 30th, 2013 by Lou
It’s all about Depth. The St. Louis Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Yet the team continued to compete. Why?
Depth, that’s why.
Carpenter missed most of 2012 but came back to make three starts before the end of the season. The Cardinals were one of two wild cards. They defeated the Braves in the wild card game, beat the Reds in the NLDS then lost to the Giants in the NLCS. Not bad for a team that had lost one of its ace pitchers.
A year before (2011), Adam (if only Carlos Beltran could have that one at bat back) Wainwright complains of elbow soreness in spring training and is lost for the season. Wainwright required Tommy John surgery so what did the Cards do? They won the World Series, that’s all. They lost their ace and still did well and how did they do it?
The St. Louis Cardinals continue to win because they have depth. The Atlanta Braves continue to win because they have depth. A Jon Niese fastball may have ended Jayson Heyward’s season but the Braves continue to roll toward their first division title since 2005. A team that has a strong farm system can survive injuries that are inevitable, especially to pitchers. A strong farm system gives a team the flexibility to call up a player or to move a player(s) to other clubs for help.
After Mets fans received a punch in the face the other day, the mood was gloom and doom. When it was announced that Matt Harvey has a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and that his season is over, it was as if the world had come to an end. As if all Mets hopes rely on one player, a pitcher who can only contribute every 5th day. There is no question the injury to Harvey is a huge blow and a big disappointment but to assume that all is lost now is an extreme over reaction. But given the Mets history over the last five seasons, the reaction is perfectly understandable. It’s just not logical.
Sandy Alderson’s plan was not to develop one player, Matt Harvey (actually drafted in Omar Minaya’s last season), and hope that he could pitch a shutout 97 times a season. In fact, Harvey almost needed to pitch a shutout every time he took the mound this season because the Mets’ miserable offense cannot score enough runs for Sandy Koufax to win consistently. I wonder if the pressure on Harvey (pressure he put on himself that is) to keep the other team from scoring, helped to lead to his injury. I’m sure no one can know for sure but Mets pitchers can never feel as if they are going to get a lot of run support. The real problem with this team is its inability to score runs. Offensive players need to be brought in if not coming from the farm and how can the Mets achieve that? Oh yeah, depth.
Alderson said the other day that Harvey’s injury does not derail the plan. “It’s not a dream unrealized, it may be a dream deferred”. The point Sandy was making is that the future success of the Mets cannot be based on any one player. It must be based on a cadre of players. Baseball is a team game and it is not basketball where one player can make the entire difference. And a lot of our upset over Harvey is founded in the aura he has projected. Harvey is a very talented pitcher with a tremendous desire to win. He is a leader and personifies something that has been missing for a long time from this team. But the reality is somewhat different. Since the All Star break, Harvey has not been the Mets best pitcher. No, that accolade has fallen upon Dillon Gee. But Gee flies under the radar because well, he’s not Matt Harvey. Don’t get me wrong, Harvey’s loss is horrible and the Mets will be better off with him then without him. But suppose Harvey does need Tommy John surgery (which of course is yet to be determined) and he is not available for the entire 2014 season? Do we assume all is lost and it will be another losing campaign? I hope not and I am certain Sandy Alderson is not throwing in the towel either.
It’s clear for an organization to be successful there must be depth at every position, especially the one labeled number one on the score sheet. The good news is the Mets are deep at the pitcher position. At the major league level, Jon Niese has had three fine starts since resting his injured shoulder, Dillon Gee continues to dominate and do so as a pitcher with finesse vs. power. And what, Zach Wheeler is not a potential ace? Wheeler has not had the storybook start to his career that Harvey has but he has an uncanny knack for winning, even if not so dominating. However Wheeler does posses the skills to be a number one pitcher who can dominate.
Look to the minor leagues and see some of the arms on the way. They include Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia, who just had chips removed from his elbow and should be ready to go by spring training. There is Noah Syndergaard dominating at double A Binghamton. Also there is Jacob DeGrom at AAA Vegas and a slew of strong arms in the lower levels of the organization. The Mets may be able to package some of these younger players for a hitter or two that they desperately need. Oh and Jeremy Hefner did a fabulous job before the All Star break before it was clear he needed Tommy John surgery. Late next year, he could be back too. Let’s face it. In the baseball world we live in, it’s not uncommon for a certain percentage of pitchers on a staff to go down with a UCL tear then come back a year later as if nothing happened. (33% of professional baseball pitchers have had TJ surgery.) It’s pretty amazing when you think how far medical technology has evolved in the past twenty-five years.
Also, consider the Mets minor league system and its success this season. Alderson has put great emphasis on player development over winning. But winning is a byproduct of good player development and consider this, the Mets already have three minor league clubs, Binghamton (AA), Savannah (A), and Kingsport (R) going to the playoffs. Las Vegas, the AAA affiliate led by fan favorite Wally Backman has a magic number of 3 to clinch the Pacific Southern Division crown in the Pacific Coast League. And Brooklyn, the short season A club of the New York Penn league has a chance at making the post season as well with a half game lead in the McNamara Division. Brooklyn struggled early in the season but has come on strong late with L.J. Mazzilli, Lee’s son, playing second base. The St. Lucie Mets (high A) won’t be going to the playoffs but they have a fine record over the combined halves (69-60). So all and all, the farm system has jumped light years since the days of Tony Bernazard ripping off his shirt to challenge players to a fight.
Another factor to keep hope alive is payroll. The Mets have a significant amount of money coming off the books after this season. According to Baseball Prospectus, the Mets will owe 33.5 million dollars to four players in 2014. That includes 8.5 million in team buy outs to Johan Santana and Jason Bay (would love to be at that party). The Mets also have a number of players under their control so they will be on the hook for around 50 to 55 million next season. If the Mets are true to their word saying they will spend if the right players become available, then another potential for improvement can happen over the winter. And if money is not spent, fans have every right to complain and not buy tickets next year (but that’s of course if they do not spend money on significant upgrades. I am not a believer in spending money for the sake of it).
Summing up, the path the Mets are on is the right one. And let’s not assume the worst in the case of Harvey. He has been diagnosed with a partial tear of the UCL. That could be a five percent tear and if so, he could rehab by strengthening his elbow and pitch next year. Of course it could be worse but until the swelling goes down and another picture can be taken, we really do not yet know the fate of the young hurler.
One thing is clear however, the Mets must bring in some bats. Their strength is pitching but a team needs to score runs to win games and in the process, protect the pitching staff. You cannot expect your pitching staff to protect a one run lead every night. It’s nice once in a while to have a three, four, or six run lead. The moves made over this coming winter to bolster the lineup and bench will likely determine the outcome for the 2014 Mets much more so than whether Matt Harvey needs Tommy John surgery or not.
August 16th, 2013 by Lou
Wow, Charlie Manuel was fired by the Phillies today.
Gee, when the Phillies stormed there way past the Mets (as the Amazin’s completely collapsed) in September of 2007, Manuel was considered a genius. His reputation of being smarter than he looked and sounded continued as the Phillies won five consecutive division championships including a World Series win over the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. Manuel’s smarts got the Phillies back to the Series in ’09 but they fell to the Yankees.
So since the Phillies have not made the post season since 2010, I guess Manuel got stupid. Or was it that their players got old and they had traded away every chip they had in their system to get overpriced free agents like a heroine addict. Seems to me the GM had more to do with the decline of the Phillies than Manuel did. Look I hate the Phillies but give them credit for their success. But it always gets me when a team’s hierarchy thinks changing a manager is going to make a difference. Oh sure, expect the Phils to get a bounce from this and perhaps challenge the Mets for third place (two teams with losing records by the way) but overall the Phillies are an old team battling lots of injuries and not a lot of help on the way.
This is why Mets fans should try and understand what their team’s front office is attempting to do. Balance a talented farm system with shrewd trades and key free agent signings. This is how the Cardinals maintain their competitiveness year after year. The Braves also are an outstanding example of how an organization should be run.
I have no love for Charlie Manuel but he’s been made the scapegoat today for a team that has some very serious deficiencies.
July 31st, 2013 by Lou
Believe it or not, the Mets have secured their first winning month of baseball in over a year. The Mets finished the month of June, 2012, with a record of 15-13. It was their third consecutive winning month. Then they fell flat on their face after the All Star break and finished July of 2012 with a paltry record of 7-18. They went on to records of 11-16, 12-16, and 1-2 through the remaining three months of the season respectively.
So far in 2013, the Mets have gone 10-15 in April, 12-15 in May, and 11-15 in June. With Monday night’s sloppy but gutty come from behind win in Miami, they guaranteed they would finish this July with a winning record. Even if the Mets lose tonight they will finish the month with a 15-12 record. Hopefully they can do better than that. And hopefully the Mets will continue to play ball the way they have this month through the remainder of the season.
Actually the Mets have been playing much better since June 16th. That was a Sunday against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. The Mets were about to be swept by the Cubs in a three game series before they rallied in the bottom of the ninth.
Losing 3-0, Marlon Byrd homered to make it 3-1. Later in the inning Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a walkoff three run homer. Walla, the Mets were reborn. Well maybe that’s a bit overstated but the Mets have played remarkably well since.
After the magic of June 16, the Mets have gone 23-17. Not quite the run the Los Angeles Dodgers have been on but not bad considering how offensively challenged the Mets have been this season. And if you are really desperate to feel warm and fuzzy, consider the NL East standings since June 16…
Yes the Mets have the best record by one game in the NL East. The Mets have a long way to go to become the season in, season out contender they want to be but this is progress.
And while we are at it, who is the better team in New York since June 16th? That would be the Mets. Their 23-17 record is better than the Yankees 17-20 record over the same span. I know, I know, typical Mets fan. Well I would agree. I am a typical Mets fan. I drink the Kool-Aid then get burned in the end. However, I understand the Mets still have a very long way to go to prove they belong in the same category as the Yankees. But at least the Mets are moving in the right direction and their future is looking a lot brighter.
Let’s hope the Mets can continue this winning trend into August and September. It will really be important for a strong finish heading into the off season.