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20/20 Hindsight: Mets Lose Cool And Opportunity

Well, it’s not the Mets unless they do something completely bizarre while also completely blowing an opportunity. Still, this seemed like a new one for the Mets:

1. First things first, we should be talking about Pete Alonso. He already broke Darryl Strawberry‘s rookie home run record, and he now has his sights set on the single season record shared by Carlos Beltran and Todd Hundley. He also has his sights on the single season extra base hit mark (80) shared by Beltran and Howard Johnson.

2. What Alonso is doing this year is truly special, and more than anything he needs to be commended. He also needs to be commended for responding for a subpar May with a big June. More than the homers or anything else, that’s special.

3. Of course, we are not talking about Alonso because Mickey Callaway blew up at a Tim Healey of Newsday, and Jason Vargas challenged him to a fight while needing to be held back by Carlos Gomez and an injured Noah Syndergaard.

4. Callaway completely and utterly overreacted to Healey, and as the manager, he can’t do that. There’s no excuses even if the media is out there gunning for his job. As for Vargas, well, it is good to see this team is willing to fight for him, but needing to be held back is taking it way too far.

5. After the incident, the media members took their rounds discussing the altercation. The most eye opening statements came from Mike Puma of the New York Post who said Callaway is a puppet just following orders, inclusive of the bullpen. He also said he thinks Callaway was trying to get fired.

6. On that front, it’s bizarre how the media believes Callaway is a puppet making no decisions, and yet, they want him fired, and they’re not pursuing the answers to the questions they want answered. As a fan, we don’t know anything because it’s not at all being reported.

7. With respect to the blown game, Seth Lugo was pushed too far. He needed to be pulled after the 20 pitch seventh. He didn’t have it, and you got a clean inning out of him. Going beyond that was too greedy. Normally, this is where you criticize Callaway, but after Puma’s comments, who knows anymore?

8. On the bullpen, Brooks Pounders, Chris Flexen, Wilmer Font, and Stephen Nogosek combined to pitch eight scoreless innings in the series. That is a huge accomplishment, especially with the Cubs having the fourth best offense in the National League.

9. While you may want to attribute some of this to Phil Regan, as well as Edwin Diaz‘s clean inning, it would be surprising if this was all because of his working with the staff over a few days and not just things Dave Eiland had been working on with them.

10. With respect to Eiland and Chuck Hernandez, they join Travis d’Arnaud and Keon Broxton as scapegoats for an ill conceived roster. We will see how much further the scapegoating goes as the season progresses. What makes the scapegoating even worse was Brodie Van Wagenen’s refusal to accept any personal responsibility for the failures of the team. That’s callow especially when you’re firing two people.

11. One of the interesting tidbits which emerged after Eiland’s firing was how the pitching staff was frustrated with Wilson Ramos. The pitch framing stats shows part of the reason. You also see it when he seemingly doesn’t even bother on some passed balls and wild pitches. If he’s going to be this way behind the plate, he needs to hit much more than he is.

12. While respect to Zack Wheeler, this is the time of the year he typically turns things around. July is his second best month of his career, and his second half ERA is more than a full run lower than his first half ERA. With the way things are going, it seems like the has time to really raise his trade value.

13. Going back to Diaz, we already know how he’s used it dictated by the front office. Once again Callaway was left holding the bag while the reporters did not ask the specific question whether he was allowed to use Diaz for more than four outs. If you think Callaway is a puppet, the questions need to be asked accordingly.

14. Too much was made of Sunday’s lineup. Players need days off, and Cole Hamels was going. In addition to that, the Mets had Jacob deGrom. You can fly with the defense first lineup in these situations, especially if the team is just going to blow the lead in his starts anyway.

15. Jeff McNeil continues to show just how valuable he is. He played three positions well, hit a homer, and he deked Anthony Rizzo into a TOOBLAN to get Lugo out of a jam. This guy is a real baseball player who is not getting nearly enough attention.

16. The fact McNeil and Michael Conforto were not in the top 20 in outfield voting was a really bad job by Mets fans. On the topic of Conforto, he is as unappreciated a player as there is in baseball and really among this fanbase.

17. Todd Frazier went from a .164/.179/.291 batting line to a .267/.357/.453 batting line with a 1.3 WAR. That is a remarkable turnaround, and it is one of the few things which has kept this team (barely) afloat.

18. With respect to Frazier his throwing his bat in disgust on a homer shows how much the ball is juiced as well as what happens when the ball is blowing out in Wrigley.

19. It’s funny how completely in disarray the Mets have been before and after Sandy Alderson. Say what you want about Sandy, but he was able to control message, deflect attention, and he was able to make the Mets seem like a well run organization. Now that he’s gone, the team looks like a Mickey Mouse operation all over again.

20. The real problem with this team is Jeff Wilpon. Instead of calls for Callaway’s head, we need to have more and more articles and media attention criticizing him. If the attention is on Callaway for following orders, all you’re doing is throwing jabs at Jeff’s designated punching bag.

18 thoughts on “20/20 Hindsight: Mets Lose Cool And Opportunity”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    1. Diaz had throw 15 pitchea in eight days. Wasn’t there an announcement last month that he would be considered for more than three outs? Splitting hairs between four and five is idiotic, two at bats could be two pitches or 24. It makes you think Callaway was told 4 and no more.”. By someone.

    2. I’ve always thought Callaway was a fake poseur with his blue sky sunshine. Surprised it took this long for him to snap.

    3. Vargas continues to be an old school vet who has the team’s back. Love me some Vargas.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to malign Callaway’s character.

  2. David Klein says:

    Fans of crappy teams aren’t excited about the team therefore don’t vote for the all-star game. I mean look at ‘06 when five Mets went to the game and two or three were voted in.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Can’t call yourselves the best fans when you don’t support your players.

      1. Joan Payson Tribute says:

        First off, busy people with busy lives sometimes forget to take care of everyone. Sometimes players lack the desire to show their charisma, they are rarely on national broadcasts, they are young emerging stars, they were injured in May, their are no local campaigns to put in multiple votes or that that team, ie Chicago Cubs have a local fan base from Indiana to Iowa.

        How many years have the Met players been on the AllStar ballot?

        Second, show me a ten baseball clubs where the manager operates independently,

        or where a GM in his first year makes a high risk trade and hands off the only asset (Diaz), an asset dependent on and affected by the team either scoring anemically if not zero runs innings 7-11on most occasions and/or having one of the worst bullpens in years if you subtract the closer….

        How do you figure out it is the manager…?

        Gee, I think Callaway lucky to get fired!

        1. What About A Movie says:

          Did you read the ESPN article that confirmed this before you wrote this?

      2. Doubleday says:

        I am not ever been a best fan but if an athlete plays hard, works at his craft and puts team first I will never let him down.

        I will cheer, vocally encourage and attend games under most circumstances…. exceptions, a team owned by Dolan, Katz or Wilpon.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          With Dolan, it’s funny. I love how he runs the Rangers, but I hate how he runs the Knicks

  3. Oldbackstop says:

    Actually, this was Callaway’s finest moment. Like a kid reaching maturity. The media, perhaps Healey, not sure, but as an overwhelming pack have howled for his canning ove the past mibth. I don’t mind some pushback. It would be bwtter if be picked sombody he had an immediate beef with, but….don’t ya think the questions might be a litter more courteous?

    And I liked it today, watched it live, he refused to apologize per se, just said he met with Healey and he could have handled it better. Good for him

    Vargas, I suspect, came in late to his manager freaking out and probably didn’t know what the provocation was, but stepped up, just like a manager does on the field when a player is about to get tossed.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t think either acquitted themselves well

  4. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    “10. With respect to Eiland and Chuck Hernandez, they join Travis d’Arnaud and Keon Broxton as scapegoats for an ill conceived roster.”

    –Scapegoat’s the right word, and it has been interesting to see both Broxton and TDA pick it up a little after leaving the Mets. My recollection w the former was that Broxton didn’t like how he was being used and combined with his play the Mets FO had enough and decided to end the experiment, despite Wags’ protestations to the contrary.

    Still, Broxton’s been better than Lagares since he left for Baltimore, hitting a 475′ HR in his first PA as an Oriole and climbing all the way to replacement level as an O, and of the two he’s a player with much more potential value given he was worth 4 bWAR in his 800 career PAs prior to joining the Mets, his health record is much better, and he’s under team control through the end of 2022.

    Add to that the Mets having no one worth bringing up once Broxton departed, that they knew or had the means to know Nimmo’s injury was serious, that Conforto would begin his stay on IL (iirc) for a concussion as Broxton was handed his walking papers–leaving only the badly underperforming Lagares as a real OFer–and this fairly small episode speaks to something much larger in the organization. Questions abound:

    –Why not package more of the talent the Mets dealt away in the offseason for a solid starting OFer, who would surely be needed in 2019, instead of dealing that talent away in bits and pieces for spare parts like Broxton and Davis?

    –Or if you’re going to skimp on the OF because Cespedes lurks in the background, why not pick up a more reliable CFer like Billy Hamilton who could be had for what the Mets paid for Justin Wilson, thereby keeping the three minor leaguers you dealt for Broxton for use in another deal, or to keep your farm better stocked?

    –And if you’re going to skimp on the OF, why aren’t you reasonably well-stocked in Syracuse, with at least a little more than players who had shown they cannot cut it in the majors? That the Mets went into 2019 with the MLB OF they had, and even so treated one of the starting spots in Syracuse as a joke, handing LF to Tebow, was appalling. Where was even one youngish player with some small chance of putting up 1.0 WAR/600 PAs? Wags couldn’t find *anyone* in the entirety of organized baseball with at least some shot at not being awful? Not one minor league FA, or a gazelle in CF who could take a walk playing in Korea or a european league?

    –Why didn’t the Mets recognize that Broxton had something left? And if the problem was attitude, why couldn’t they fix it? They managed to deal with Asdrubal Cabrera’s discontent–why not Broxton’s, particularly given the clear motivation to do so?

    –With Carlos Gomez proving to be Austin Jackson, v. 2018, with the potential pro-rated to a full season of being among the worst players to play in the majors and with Broxton turning in replacement level performance as an Oriole, add this one to the “what on Earth were they thinking?” category.

    1. What About A Movie says:

      A few things:

      Travis was under considerable pressure to regain his form.
      There was a short leash for he was inconsistent at best, he was frail and was not throwing men out.

      Broxton, maybe the GM was under pressure and gave up too early and maybe it is the chemistry, the manager, the team dynamics, too early or just a big market team.

      Blame Katz Wilpon for expecting so much, in so little time from a rookie GM?

      1. metsdaddy says:

        1. TdA was rehabbing from surgery, and they rushed him when they didn’t need to do it.

        2. Broxton was little more than a reactionary decision.

        3. No, blame the GM for being incompetent

    2. metsdaddy says:

      These are fair questions, but belying the premise is Brodie Van Wagenen knew what he was doing. He doesn’t, nor does Jeff Wilpon.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        Just so. Have to admit I as painfully aware while writing that the answer to all of those questions was very probably “because the GM and ownership are clueless.”

        Still, to the extent being a Mets fan is fun, it’s fun to play GM and pose such questions–to mull over what in particular is important for the GM to think about, and ask what transpired that suggests certain things never even occurred to him. Such a shame, in any event. Considering the talent on hand a solid contender could have obviously been built this offseason, given what the Mets were willing to spend and trade. They spent more than 1/4 of a billion dollars this offseason in salary commitments and talent, not including deGrom’s extension, in order to improve the MLB squad for the next 2-3 years (or 4 years if you include Diaz’s last year of team control, though I suspect he’ll be long gone by the start of 2022).

        Yet for all that the 2019 Mets are on pace to finish one game behind the 2018 version. Amazing.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Put it this way. If the Mets literally did nothing but keep the players over whom the team had control, they’d be in fourth place with a much better farm.

          1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            It’s an extraordinary indictment of ownership, the GM they chose, and the GM himself.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            There is not one positive thing you can say about Van Wagenen as the GM.

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