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20/20 Hindsight: Time To Say Good-bye to Postseason and Beloved Players

Well, the Mets postseason hopes are officially over leaving them to play out the string and for them to set some personal accomplishments. In between, there were some real good things both in this series and the season:

1. The end of the season was put off a game because Michael Conforto came up huge. He once again showed himself a cornerstone player and one who the Mets should be working to keep around for his entire career.

2. The Mets should also be working to keep Zack Wheeler a Met past this season. He had another great outing in an extremely strong finish to the season. He wants to remain a Met, and the Mets need him in the rotation to win next year.

3. That said, it was possible yesterday was a good-bye to both Wheeler and Curtis Granderson. There was a sense of melancholy with Granderson’s homer possibly being his last at-bat in Citi Field and it putting the loss on Wheeler in his last start as a Met.

4. On the topic of good-byes, Jeff McNeil‘s year is done after he broke his wrist when getting hit with a pitch. Fortunately, he has time to heal up and get ready to be the player he has been this year. The Mets need him to be that player next year because when he is he is the more indispensable position player on this roster.

5. One pitcher who the Mets did extend was Jacob deGrom, who cemented his case for the Cy Young by running his scoreless inning streak to 23 innings. He will become the first Mets pitcher to win consecutive Cy Youngs putting him on the pantheon of Mets great pitchers.

6. That list includes Jerry Koosman who is getting his number retired by the team. If the Mets are going to lower their standards for retiring numbers, Koosman was the right place to start.

7. As noted in an earlier article, if Koosman is going to get his number retired, the door is now open for the Mets to retire the numbers of David Wright, Gary Carter, Carlos Beltran, Keith Hernandez, and John Franco.

8. It has been great to see the Mets move forward with honoring their history. That should also be coupled by paying more attention to their Hall of Fame. That is not just improving upon it. It is also putting more players in that Hall of Fame including Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter, and Bobby Valentine.

9. It should also include Gary Cohen and Howie Rose. On that note with Marty Brennaman retiring from the Reds, we are reminded of how lucky we are as Mets fans to have them call games. We are also lucky on the radio side, it has gone from Bob Murphy to Gary Cohen to Howie Rose.

10. On the subject of lucky, we have been lucky to see Pete Alonso this season. He has been a great player for the Mets setting records. It’s more than just the rookie home run records. He is also his tying Johnny Mize and Willie Mays for the most homers by a New York National League player.

11. He also joins a group including Mays, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, and Ralph Kiner in having 51 homers and 118 RBI in a season before the age of 25. That puts Alonso in a group of Hall of Fame players. It will fun to see what he has in store for next year.

12. Hopefully, Mickey Callaway get his way and gets to bat Alonso leadoff over the final three games to help get him past Aaron Judge for the rookie home run record.

13. With respect to Callaway, he has done enough to stick around another year. We’ve seen him get everything out of this team he could. Young players like Alonso and Amed Rosario have improved. We’ve seen deGrom get to a new level, and the starters be healthy for two years running. That is really no small task.

14. That said, there is enough to get rid of him. At the end of the day, if he is going to be replaced, we need to see him be replaced with an Alex Cora type. The Mets need a manager who is going to push the front office and help implement things needed to win. If they’re not going to do that firing Callaway does little more than change the narrative.

15. Speaking of narratives, the Mets don’t spend. They don’t. People need to stop insisting they do. The payroll is inflated by over $36 million owed to Yoenis Cespedes and Wright which has not been reinvested in this team.

16. The Mets have a number of holes to fill between the bullpen and the rotation. That’s before we even consider the Mets even contemplating trading Noah Syndergaard. They’re also not going to be bailed out by the insurance for Cespedes. That’s a lot of holes to fill without the money or prospects. That’s a tall task for even a competent GM. For Brodie Van Wagenen, it’s impossible.

17. One idea is to put Seth Lugo back in the rotation. Doing that would only leave a gaping hole in the bullpen. That’s a hole all the bigger when you consider Edwin Diaz has allowed as many homers this year as Armando Benitez did in his worst two seasons combined. Keep in mind those two seasons were records for the Mets.

18. There were some bright spots this season which perhaps none of them being bigger than Paul Sewald finally getting his first Major League win.

19. With Sewald getting the win and other highlights, this has been an entertaining season. It is not too dissimilar from the 1996 season where we saw Bernard Gilkey, Todd Hundley, and Lance Johnson having great personal years in a year where the Mets would fall short.

20. And that’s what happened, the Mets fell short, and as Brodie Van Wagenen said himself on WFAN falling short like this would be a disappointment. Just remember those words as everyone, including the Mets themselves, try to spin this season and the future.

32 thoughts on “20/20 Hindsight: Time To Say Good-bye to Postseason and Beloved Players”

  1. David Klein says:

    You gotta be trolling with this Callaway shit. People said the same they play hard for him garbage about Art Howe in Oakland and Beane begged someone dumb enough to take him off his hands and the Mets were that team.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s not trolling. Callaway has taken 3/5 of the rotation to a higher level, and we’ve seen continued development and improvement from the young players working under him.

      Yes, his in-game moves (some of which we know are texted to him) are baffling at times, but he is doing some things right here.

      I’d rather gamble he improves his in-game strategy than someone else comes in and does a worse job with the pitchers and young players.

      1. David Klein says:

        Umm he’s not the pitching coach and he got worse this year than he was last year.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Callaway is a pitching coach who has played a role in these pitchers performances. I’d also argue he’s gotten better this year. Maybe not much, but he’s been better.

          1. David Klein says:

            Better in what way? He makes more mistakes than any Mets manager ever. Brian Kenny kills him everyday on mlb now.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Collins made far more mistakes, and he got players hurt in the process. Same for Jerry Manuel.

            I’d also note anyone killing Callaway needs to note the decisions are coming from the GM.

            I have no idea why that’d change with another manager.

          3. David Klein says:

            So all the garbage moves Callaway makes is on the gm, lol. You are Callaway’s only defender.

          4. metsdaddy says:

            We don’t know who is making what moves, and if you don’t know you can’t attribute it to Callaway.

      2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        @metsdaddy – I wish there was basis for that optimism (since the Wilpons aren’t likely to eat the last year of his deal), but Callaway is explicit that he rejects analytics, which is to say the basic use of statistics, unless all other options are exhausted. That’s like starting the 100m dash at least 10m behind the rest of the field and it’s why this team, despite its front line talent, had no real chance to contend. Over the course of a season his sort of ignorance accumulates. It’s like starting out behind, and being the only one to have to run uphill.

        Data is also the kind of thing that, even if you want to get good at employing it, takes a fair amount of time to do so. When to use it, when not to use it, how to approach it and teach it to players in a way each of 25-50 can understand prior to then during the season… it’s not easy, and on top of that Callaway doesn’t care. Further, and probably worst of all, even if he wanted to get good at using data he doesn’t give any indication anywhere, in anything he has ever said, of having the aptitude for it. We can simply rule it out as a possibility. This will be the last major league team Callaway ever manages.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          When Callaway started, he utilized data to inform decisions. At some point, the decision making process was stripped away from him.

          We’ve all seen the reports Brodie texts in-game decisions. We’ve also seen reports the front office has instructed the team to use the shift less frequently.

          So, in the end, I’m not sure how you pin this on Callaway.

          1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            Callaway’s statement to the Post in mid-August was the single dumbest thing any manager has ever said:

            ” ‘I bet 85 percent of our decisions go against the analytics,’ Callaway said. ‘And that is how it’s always going to be, because that is just on paper.’ ”

            There’s little left to say, really. Whether we parse the attribution as 40 or 50 or 60 percent to Callaway hardly matters. Nothing he has ever said indicates he doesn’t believe this nonsense wholeheartedly. Imagine a blackjack player in a Vegas casino saying he goes against analytics 85% of the time. He’d never leave with a dime. Once Callaway says that, it doesn’t matter how good he is in any other aspect of the game. There’s no way to be good enough to overcome the hole it digs for him–and he’s really not that good. Why do his teams, teams that should be .500 level clubs, get off to such awful starts? If he’s a good player manager, why do his teams bury themselves so early in the season? Why are they so lackadaisical that they can’t perform?

            As for pitching, more guys get worse than improve under Callaway. Far more players do well after leaving than do worse wrt both pitching and at the plate, and the guys who leave are typically getting dumped, so they should have almost no chance of improving–yet they do, sometimes by a lot. Two years in a row he has been unable to assemble a bullpen, which has been catastrophic under his misleadership. Tbh I’m amazed he has any support at all, anywhere.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            People pay way too much attention to what he says. It’s meaningless.

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Callaway makes far too many head scratching decisions to warrant return no matter how good he’s been keeping the players positive even when eleven under .500 and turning things around to go season high 8 over.

    We need a manager who communicates well with everyone AND is also a smart in-game and lineup decision-maker.

    Jacob Degrom is heading for his second consecutive CY Young, – I was happily wrong stating earlier this season he wouldn’t win it in light of his poor April and Ryu dominating in ERA at the time.

    Am hoping RYU gives up a run or more tomorrow – that should make Degrom NL ERA leader. Also hoping he wins strikeout crown. All of these add to what we all hope is eventual Hall of Fame career.

    Conforto is good extension candidate. I think he took a leap in maturity and leadership this September, canning the cliches in his comments, replacing them with smart, thoughtful, perceptive and honest analysis about team.

    I would like to see him improve defensively with better footwork; ball transfer from glove to hand; and throwing mechanics after charging and scooping.

    Would also like to see better consistency at the plate so he hits at least .270, and preferably higher.

    JD Davis has been a revelation at the plate. So smart, so prepared, so good.

    Now he needs to improve defensively and in foot speed.

    Time to either trade Syndergaard, or turn into late inning reliever. I prefer the former as chip to acquire young major league ready starter and one or two position players with upside.

    Sign Wheeler to extension.

    Strengthen the pen and upper minors. Add some speed.

    Edwin Diaz is going to work with Pedro Martinez this offseason. Pedro says he knows what’s wrong and can fix it.

    This has been an up and down season but positive overall with winning record, a stepping stone to 90+ wins in 2020. with many returning players all the more wiser.

    Will be interesting offseason as well.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If the Mets are going to hire that manager, I’m all for it. Unfortunately, those guys aren’t available, and I’m not willing to gamble on another novice becoming that guy.

      As for offseason moves, if you’re trading anyone, it’s Davis. His value will never be higher considering his stats being historically unrepeatable.

    2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      @LTF: “Callaway makes far too many head scratching decisions to warrant return…”

      —–Agreed, and Callaway makes those decisions because, somehow, the Mets decided two years ago to hire probably the only managerial candidate at ANY level who could say, as Callaway did to the Post in mid-August, “I bet 85 percent of our decisions go against the analytics, and that is how it’s always going to be, because that is just on paper.” The Mets somehow went out and got themselves a manager so profoundly ignorant of his craft that he can say analytics “is just on paper.” Callaway has been in the game for a couple of decades and hasn’t figured out yet that what happens **on the field** is what is recorded **on paper.**

      It’s hard to think of something said by anyone in baseball that was quite that stupid. It’s like hearing a professional economist telling you you don’t need to save money, because money ‘is just paper.’ I don’t know what’s more incredible: that Callaway said something that profoundly stupid, that he isn’t hammered every day for it, that the GM isn’t hammered every day for continuing Callaway’s employment, or that ownership isn’t hammered every day for hiring the fool in the first place. Having Callaway as your manager is like having a fielder who thinks positioning is irrelevant, or a pitcher who doesn’t care about what pitches the hitter he’s facing excels against.

      It’s like getting a failing grade in your most important subject, and it also belies a manager who can’t possibly believe in sitting down with pitchers and teaching them how to work around the new baseball because the new results are “just numbers.” It explains why the Mets relievers are almost invariably so bad when they arrive–Callaway just doesn’t have the smarts to bring them around when they’re struggling–and why they typically get better when they leave. It’s because they go to teams that understand the role of analysis in the game, and why it matters.

      Callaway parlayed a fluke in Cleveland into a managerial gig, the only one of 30 where being actively hostile to analytics was considered a plus. Now it’s time to remedy that mistake and fire him. Immediately. It doesn’t matter that players ‘play for him’ when he doesn’t know what to do with them when they’re on the field and when his decisions constantly undermine their effort. As you point out, it’s not nearly enough.

      “Conforto is good extension candidate.”

      —–He is indeed, but players overwhelmingly hire Boras to represent them because they want to go to free agency. It’s probably well past the time when Conforto would have been open to an extension. The Mets could have gambled on their judgment and tried guaranteeing him financial security by offering him a modest contract while he was hurt, something like a guaranteed total of $8m after his shoulder capsule injury if he never played another game but that included inexpensive but respectable team options for his first two FA years–something like $10m per season. That would have guaranteed Conforto remained with the team until the end of 2022 and his age 30 season, probably about as far as you want to go with a 3 win corner OF … but… the Mets never do this, never even try it, so it didn’t happen. Expect to see him dealt this offseason or next for a lesser starting OFer and a modest prospect, which will be a shame.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        1. Don’t forget Callaway’s hands are tied at times by the GM texting game decisions to him. We don’t always know what came from him or Brodie.

        2. One of the worst things the Wilpons do is failing to recognize when to extend someone. You always try when a player is at his nadir, not his peak. It’s why you look to extend Syndergaard right now, and like you alluded, Conforto off the shoulder.

      2. LongTimeFan1 says:

        Blair,

        Conforto says he wants to sign extension. Boras works for him.

        I think Conforto played himself into serious extension candidacy in the past 10 days also brandishing leadership skills which could be the difference maker.

        But if Conforto gets greedy and allows Boras to control his future, he’s probably testing free agency following a trade in his final season.

        I soured on Callaway early in his Mets stint. Then decided to keep an open mind last offseason after he insisted he’s learned a lot and would be better in 2019. Unfortunately, he’s still talks too much bull and has made some of the dumbest in-game decisions, with the dumbest post game explanations I’ve ever heard in my 50 years as Mets fan. I think we need an experienced manager with fine communication skills, who’s honest with fans, media, front office, ownership and players, who understands New York and how to make sound decisions.

        I’m not gung ho an extending players prematurely when unhealthy and when I haven’t seen an approach or all around skills that signal fine future. I think Conforto didn’t emerge as bona fide building block till recently.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I’ll just note a player wanting every last dollar he can get isn’t him being greedy.

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    “2. The Mets should also be working to keep Zack Wheeler a Met past this season.”

    —True, but…

    “… and the Mets need him in the rotation to win next year.”

    —**The Mets won’t win next year.** They’ll have a worse team next year than this year, with no chance of getting a guy like Stroman at the deadline given their current 28th place farm system. They’re not keeping all their arb eligible guys AND keeping Syndergaard AND re-upping Wheeler AND getting a 2-win guy to replace Frazier to ensure 3B isn’t a black hole–and that’s what they’d need to do just to tread water.

    2020 will see the Mets again bobbing around the .500 mark, with no real chance of making even the 2nd wildcard. They had more good luck than bad this year–a lot more. With average luck and a projectable offseason they’re probably a 79-80 win team for 2020, and if they deal Syndergaard, don’t re-sign Wheeler, and put Lugo’s iffy arm in the rotation, it could get a lot worse.

    2020 is the season before the larger collapse in 2021 and 2022, when whether they want them or not guys like Syndergaard and Conforto, Stroman, Ramos, and even Matz are all gone after 2021. Then after 2022 even Nimmo and Lugo are gone as FA if they’re still here. The Mets rarely keep those guys to FA, anyway.

    Mets fans are going to remember van Wagenen’s reign as one of almost unmitigated catastrophe. No postseason appearances, ransacking the farm to build .500 clubs, then near-total collapse.

    1. LongTimefan1 says:

      That quite a diatribe of doom and gloom, Blair M. Schirmer. I don’t find your analysis credible.

      I expect a playoff contender year after year. The key is health, quality mental make up, talent, determination, good coaching,, good leadership, team chemistry, diversified skillsets, cooperation, execution and depth.

      2019 is bridge to 90 or wins in 2020.

      We have a young, inexpensive core in Alonso, Rosario McNeil, Davis.

      Mets should start locking up some arb eligible players now on team friendly deals and look to acquire upper minors and big league ready talent through key trades.

      Acquire other assets through select free agents.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Just because you disagree, it doesn’t mean the person lacks credibility.

        I’d note that even with this young core performing above expectations the Mets fell well short of the division.

        Looking forward, the Mets lack the budget and prospect depth to really improve this roster. As a result, I don’t see how things really improve.

        1. LongTimeFan says:

          I didn’t say the person lacks credibility. I was referring to said person’s comments.

          I see 90+ wins next season and fight for division. I think the pitching should be the focus. We have nice 20-something core plus Degrom to retool around. These players are mentally strong, love being Mets, never quit and have learned a lot this season that carries into subsequent.

          Brodie needs to trade smart in acquiring quality young players to the upper minors and or big league squad. Trading Kelenic was terrible decision. Dominic Smith and Syndergaard are two viable chips. That Smith throws left handed and isn’t fleet of foot, gains weight during the season and most critically, is blocked by Alonso, limits his playing time and versatility. Trade him to team needing young first baseman with upside for a return of young players.

          JD Davis is building block. You disliked him when we got him and still do. He’s hit as minor leaguer and now major leaguer. His mechanics, plate approach, swing path, above average exit velo, barrels, mental make up, hitting smarts, work ethic, capacity to adjust between and within AB’s, and use of whole field make him quality hitter with quality future.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            1. You said the analysis lacked credibility solely because your gut didn’t agree with it.

            2. You can’t trade Syndergaard because you have zero organizational SP depth and no money to sign a starter.

            3. JD has historically unrepeatable peripherals. He’s going to regress. Get rid of him at his peak value.

      2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        @LTF — I reject that estimation out of hand, friend. Is it gloom and doom to point out, as the hurricane climbs North through the Carribean, that Miami is very likely to get hit with high winds?

        Being a fan doesn’t mean I surrender reason and sense.

        The 2020 Mets are likely to go into the season with a worse roster than they went into 2019 with. At best they’re likely to substitute Stroman for Wheeler, won’t have Frazier, will find a 5th starter almost certainly worse than Vargas since they dumped him and he’s cheap, and are favorites to have worse luck with health and performance.

        Those are just the facts as they’re best known to us, based on what the FO has and hasn’t said, how Wags has depleted the farm, and according to every extant means of projecting players. Your beef isn’t with me, in short, it’s with ownership, the GM, and the manager. They’re the ones slamming the window of contention shut. For years, unfortunately.

        A good GM could readily get this team to average 90 wins in 2020. A good GM with ownership willing to get just under the luxury tax in payroll would readily get this team to average 95 wins, and if he’s stuck with Callaway in 2020 that GM would insist Callaway learn to manage and teach in accordance with the latest and best principles–but van Wagenen is not that GM. He doesn’t appear to know what those latest and best principles are. It’s not the players who are at fault, in short–it’s the FO, who will do none of the above.

        It was the FO who got Stroman but didn’t bother to improve the pen, and that got the cheapest available help for the bench in-season; that cut Hech the day before he was due to get his $1m bonus (hamstringing the Mets with FAs and players with choices next year by exposing that they’ll continue to be cheap and willing to hurt their own players) then watched him go from replacement level (ie as good or better than most of the Mets bench in September) to a .902 OPS with the Braves.

        “We have a young, inexpensive core in Alonso, Rosario McNeil, Davis.”

        —–And we already saw what they can do, and got the benefit of the 13 WAR they combined for in 2019. Only Rosario has a meaningful chance to get better, while the other 3 rate to regress more than he improves. Btw, this is not a young team, and it doesn’t have a young core. McNeil is already in his prime years, while only Alonso and Rosario are pre-prime. Next season the average age of the roster will 29.4. The pitchers will be 30. The position players 29. It’s an old team. As it stands no one in the rotation will be under 27.

        “Mets should start locking up some arb eligible players now on team friendly deals…”

        —–Sure, agreed, but they typically don’t do that and it’s too late to do that with anyone but Rosario and Alonso, who they already control anyway.

        “…and look to acquire upper minors and big league ready talent through key trades.”

        —-There’s just no way to do that without dealing away more than they acquire at the MLB level. This is a team that’s going to be average next year, and worse for a couple more. There’s just no getting around it, until the players at the lowest level of the minors start to mature–if they even do. Average MLB squads with maxed out payrolls and farm systems ranking 28th according to Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, just don’t get to the postseason very often.

    2. metsdaddy says:

      Look, I get the Mets likely won’t win, but it’s inexcusable not to try with the core talent here. I’d also note if it does fall apart, I’d rather have the trade assets.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        @metsdaddy – I couldn’t agree more. “Inexcusable” is exactly the right word. This past offseason I listed the dozen good players the Mets played in 2018, guys who were adequate to superb MLB regulars in the pen, the rotation, and the starting lineup. On top of that there were another dozen players who chipped in a win, half a win, something useful along the way. Those 24-25 guys would have gotten the 2018 Mets to 88 wins, had the FO simply surrounded them with 0.0 WAR players–you know the kind, replacement level players, AAAA players, the Kirk Niewenhuises of the world. The Corey Oswalts and Robert Gsellmans. Guys who don’t contribute anything meaningful but don’t take away anything, either.

        Those 0.0 WAR guys are not the 25 men who are actually productive, that you start out the year with and hope stay healthy, but instead are the 26th through 50th players nearly every team uses over the course of the season. So instead of being worth 0.0 WAR in 2018, the Mets 26th through 56th guys (they wound up using 56 players over the season) cost the Mets about 9.0 WAR. They summed to negative 9.0 WAR. That’s at least twice as much as nearly every other contender. That’s on the FO, and those are the 30 players that dragged the Mets down from about 88 wins, to a sub-.500 result in 2018.

        It was inexcusable, in short, not to surround the guys who could have gotten the Mets to 88 wins in 2018 with AAAA players.

        It was even worse this year, 2019, where just the 12 best players surrounded by replacement level guys should have gotten the Mets to about 88 wins. Add in the next 12 guys who chip in the way Dom or JD Davis or Stroman do, and if surrounded by replacement level players in the 25th through 55th slots these Mets should have won about 92 games.

        The talent was there. The failure to build around them, the failure to surround with them with replacement level talent, was indeed inexcusable. The 2019 Mets should have strolled to the postseason. What an appalling waste!

      2. Oldbackstop says:

        To the people looking for the Mets to “tie up” pending free agents early….can you name three players who left during the Wilpon era due to money and performed over the rough WAR formula (1=8mil)?

        Can you name one?

        I think the only one that is close is Jose, but by the end of his deal he was in the red.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Justin Turner
          Daniel Murphy
          Carlos Beltran
          Angel Pagan
          Wilmer Flores.

          There’s more too.

  4. Oldbackstop says:

    JD’s only weakness is one knucklehead blogger who has doubled down a dozen times on his impending failure, spectacularly faceplanted, and now has his dirty diaper around his blogging ankles.

  5. Oldbackstop says:

    Another thing…many people, but in particular MD, mourn the loss of traded prospects like their children torn from the womb.

    Reality is, a kid traded out is quite unlikely to have a plus career. I mean, Fulmer looked like he might be a scenario, but he has staggered since the first year. The prospect deal I can be remember was in our favor — Syndergaard and d’Arnaud.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Rejoice in Cano’s deal

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