Mets Real Problem
Something occurred to me last night. The Mets have a real problem this offseason. It’s one that they partially created. In a nutshell, they arrived too soon.
At the beginning of 2015, no one saw the Mets winning the NL Pennant. They were coming off a 79-83 season. The already dominant Nationals added Max Scherzer. Bryce Harper wasn’t the only one who thought the Nationals were bound to win a ring. Even with Jacob deGrom winning the Rookie of the Year and the return of Matt Harvey most thought the best case scenario was the Mets competing for one of the Wild Cards.
What happened? The National faltered so badly they had to fire their manager. deGrom was even better than he was in his rookie year. Harvey showed no rust and has no setbacks in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. The Mets offense and his play in AA forced the Mets to call up Michael Conforto, who played well. Noah Syndergaard had an incredible rookie year. Jeurys Familia became a great closer.
Add that to Curtis Granderson having a great year and an amazing two months from Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets win 90 games and win the NL East. When the young pitching delivers in the postseason and Daniel Murphy becomes unhittable, you win a pennant. Man was that an unlikely pennant. Going into the year, you would’ve thought everything wouldn’t had to break right for the Mets to get to this point. It was quite the opposite.
Zack Wheeler‘s season was over before it began with him needing Tommy John surgery. David Wright missed most of the season with spinal stenosis. Murphy was in and out of the lineup in the first half with injuries. Michael Cuddyer wasn’t as good as they hoped, got hurt, and became an expensive bench player. Wilmer Flores struggled at shortstop creating a strange platoon with Ruben Tejada. Dilson Herrera couldn’t fill the gaps because he still wasn’t ready. Travis d’Arnaud had two long DL trips, and his replacements couldn’t hit. Juan Lagares took big steps back offensively and defensively. Lucas Duda had a streaky year with prolonged slumps. Oh, and their closer, Jenrry Mejia, had not one but two PED suspensions.
Really, this wasn’t some magical season. It was frustrating for most of the year. It was magical from August on. If not fit the Nationals ineptitude, the Mets should’ve been dead and buried. The Mets should’ve been looking to build off of a strong 2015 season. The Mets still have prospects a year or two away. The year was really supposed to be 2017. That was the year the Mets pitching would’ve been firmly established with the Mets having quality players at every position across the diamond.
No, they’re way ahead of schedule. They’re ready to let Murphy walk after he’s been a solid player for many years, let alone that postseason. There’s no room for Cespedes. The Mets are again talking about not being able to expand payroll. It’s creating an air of frustration amongst the fan base. It’s strange considering what happened in 2015.
What’s also strange is a poor NL East is seemingly getting worse. The NL East may very well be there for the taking WITHOUT the Mets signing even one player. In actuality, not signing anyone could arguably be a prudent move for the future of the team.
Do you really want to block 2B with a large contract when Herrera is a potential All Star. Do you grossly overpay for a bad shortstop when the Mets have not one but two big prospects at that position who are not far away? Why are you getting a terrible centerfielder when Brandon Nimmo is so close.
Do you block the path for some potential All Stars for aging players who MAY help you one year and be an albatross when the prospects are ready? How do you not build upon a team that went to the World Series last year? Can you reasonably ask a fan base to wait another year after all the losing? How do you explain last year might’ve been a fluke?
That’s the Mets real problem. They’re trying to juggle the present and the future. The front office is going to have to earn their money this offseason.