Darryl Strawberry

Mets Ruining Old Timers Day With Reyes Invitation

One of the best things Steve Cohen has done in terms of fan engagement is Old Timers’ Day. The New York Mets now have their own history, and we now get the opportunity to celebrate it. Apparently, fans aren’t the only ones eager to celebrate it.

We have seen a number of players eager to return. Already on the docket are a who’s who of Mets greats including Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Howard Johnson, John Franco, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Daniel Murphy, Mookie Wilson, and many, many more. Really, Mets players are coming out of the woodwork to try to attend this event.

With every name came more excitement and more fond memories. Then, the Mets announced Jose Reyes was returning.

While the Mets were blowing Game 4 of the 2015 World Series, Reyes was in Hawaii grabbing his wife by the neck and throwing her into glass doors. The altercation was so violent, the hotel would need to call the police, and his wife would need to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries.

The Colorado Rockies (who also had Trevor Story ready) were so appalled they released Reyes. There was a debate whether Reyes would ever play a game again. After all, who in the world would want someone like that on their team? It’s one thing to deal with someone on your roster. It is a whole other to proactively go out and sign that player (or acquire him if you are the New York Yankees and Aroldis Chapman).

Well, frankly, the Mets were cheap morons, and their third base plan for 2016 was David Wright. That lasted until May 27. After that, the Mets were trying to figure it out on the fly. Instead of looking to make a trade, they opted to do the whole dog-and-pony show of trying to rehabilitate Reyes’ image.

Reyes was decent enough, and he had a big homer against the Philadelphia Phillies. The media acquiesced with the Mets demands and wrote the necessary articles (yes, they are 100% complicit) to support the Mets bold move to cheap out and take bad a wife beater. Everyone was so happy the Mets brought Reyes back.

Well, third base wasn’t good enough anymore for Reyes. With Asdrubal Cabrera‘s thumb injury, Reyes pushed his way to short. It was a bad year for Reyes, and it was apparent to the Mets, they needed to pivot. Amed Rosario was called up at the end of the year to be the shortstop of the future, and in the offeseason, they had to sign Todd Frazier to play the third base Reyes no longer wanted to play.

Reyes agreed to be the utility player. Anything to help the team. Again, just talk.

Reyes didn’t really put the time in to succeed in the outfield. He was terrible, and he stopped playing there. Then, the sham of the narrative he was going to mentor Rosario was exposed when he whined to the media about it. This came at a time when the baseball world was wondering if he was done and would soon be ticketed for being designated for assignment. Instead, he was rewarded with more playing time.

Despite the beating of his wife and acting bigger than the organization, he was given a big send-off as part of the Wright festivities. He got to retire as the Mets leadoff hitter and shortstop. He deserved none of this.

After he beat his wife, the Mets had kept throwing him olive branch after olive branch. None were good enough for him. He showed a complete lack of gratitude to this organization. And now, he’s going to be rewarded by being brought back for Old Timers’ Day like he didn’t beat his wife and wasn’t a completely selfish jerk on his way out?

Seriously? This is Wilpon level garbage and has no place in the Steve Cohen era. In reality, Reyes has no business being at Citi Field for Old Timers Day even if he bought his own ticket.

Pete Alonso Is True Test Of Mets Fans Greatness

It is readily apparent from a position player standpoint Pete Alonso is Mets fans favorite player. After all, he’s been talked about as a future captain and MVP even if those monikers never really quite fit. It doesn’t matter because he’s adored.

And for very good reason. Alonso has set records, started the LFGM thing, had epic Home Run Derby performances, and has donated portions of his winnings to charities helping veterans. All of the love thrown his way has been more than warranted.

The thing is we’re really about to find out how much Mets fans truly love Alonso.

There was a time being a star or superstar on the Mets meant you were starting the All-Star Game. That was the case in the 1980s with Darryl Strawberry. We saw it again with Mike Piazza and then with Carlos Beltran. Keep in mind, with Beltran, he wasn’t all that beloved, and yet, he was voted a starter in 2005 even when he had his worst year in Flushing leading to the booing.

Things changed a little after that. David Wright never really got the same benefit. In fact, back in 2012, Pablo Sandoval was voted the All-Star Game starter over Wright. Yes, Wright was a deserving All-Star that year, but he would not start.

In fact, Wright only started five All-Star Games, The last one in 2013 took a massive push to get Wright elected in the year Citi Field hosted the All-Star Game. This was at a time when Wright was a superstar playing in the largest market in the world.

There are different reasons why Wright didn’t get the same benefit other Mets did. For starters, the internet ballots changed nearly everything. It really negated the advantage larger markets had in having fans flood the park and voting for their favorites.

Another important factor is the Wilpons and the Madoff Scandal was a massive blow to Mets fans. There was a general depression among the Mets fans, and the earliest dimensions of Citi Field did not help. Getting excited for anything Mets was very difficult to do until Matt Harvey‘s Major League debut. Yes, that had a large part of Wright’s boost in the voting that year.

Keep in mind, Mets fans adored Wright. We did see that in his starting five games, but he should’ve started more. Really, in another day and time, Wright would’ve started more. To a large extent, blame the Wilpons for that.

However, now, we have Steve Cohen. We have an owner who will actually do all he can to make the Mets the best they can be. In many ways, this is like when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets in 1980. There is a trust in ownership and palpable excitment among the fanbase.

That should translate to All-Star voting.

Yes, Paul Goldschmidt is having a better year. You can say the same for Freddie Freeman in Los Angeles. Seeing that, you can argue Alonso may need the push from Mets fans to be named the deserving All-Star he is. He should be voted as a starter by this fanbase.

Failing to do so wouldn’t be a failure of the fans at all. Rather, it is just be a dose of reality that Mets fans don’t carry the power they once did. There are many reasons for that, but it would seem like they love of Alonso is there for this fanbase to flex their muscles (while also using them to vote Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo) as starters.

Steve Cohen has brought the Mets back to where they should be. Mets fans now need to be back to who they are. They need to make Alonso the starting first baseman for the All-Star Game.

 

May 20/20 Hindsight: Best Mets Team Ever?

The New York Mets have finished the first two months of the season in first place with a 10.5 game division lead. That is tied for the best ever lead on June 1 in MLB history.

1.  It doesn’t matter what happens with this team. They are perhaps the most resilient Mets team we have ever seen.

2.  Luis Guillorme has earned a job in the starting lineup, and he’s playing like someone deserving of an All-Star right now.

3.  Playing time may hold back Guillorme, but it should not hold back Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo. They’re not just having All-Star caliber seasons, but they are also building budding MVP campaigns.

4.  Lindor going around humming the Rangers goal song is awesome. That run is having a big impact on this Mets team, and it seems to be driving them all the more to have their own special season.

5.  Colin Holderman and Stephen Nogosek have earned a permanent place in the Mets bullpen.

6.  If Drew Smith is hurt, just put him on the IL. There is no need to mess around and have the chance he hurts his arm compensating for the pinkie.

7.  Trevor Williams has stepped up big time, and he has taken that last spot in the rotation for now. He might’ve been a throw-in last season in the Javier Baez trade, but he’s been a very importance piece for this Mets team.

8.  The pitching injuries necessitated Dominic Smith be sent down. The team needs the arms, and right now, Smith hasn’t made the case he should stay in the majors. Then again, J.D. Davis hasn’t either, but looking at everything, he is on borrowed time as well.

9.  Eduardo Escobar is slowly but surely coming out of his struggles, and he is primed to have the same big June he has always had. To his credit, he has not let his struggles get the better of him as he was always out there hustling. That’s why he had the big extra innings catch followed by the walk-off hit.

10. The Mets are in a tough spot at the catcher position, and it seems like the problem isn’t improving as Patrick Mazeika just can’t seem to get on the same page as his pitchers, and he’s made some questionable pitch calls. Case-in-point was that Adam Ottavino fastball.

11. The most important move the Mets made all season was Chris Bassitt. While he was not pegged as such, he has been the team’s ace all season long. That’s because he has pitched that way and because he’s the last man standing.

12. There is not enough we can say about how Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker have stepped up this season. This team is in first place because of them as any other reason.

13. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer coming back at some point this season, it is really difficult to pinpoint where this team desperately needs to make a move to make it a World Series contending club.

14. That said, Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve at least have you wondering if the Mets need a left-handed reliever. Then again, maybe David Peterson can move there for the postseason and have a 2015 Jon Niese type of impact.

15. Having Johan Santana out there with Tylor Megill, Smith, Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz was one of the coolest photos in Mets team history.

16. It is amazing hearing Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry will return to Flushing for Old Timers’ Day. It seems like all of the Mets greats want to come back to experience this.

17. Nick Plummer is what makes a season like this so special. He’s a former first rounder who was given the bust label before having a good year in Triple-A with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. It wasn’t enough to keep him around, and the Mets have been the beneficiaries for taking a chance on him.

18. It’s astonishing to think it took the Mets nearly two months to complete their first series sweep of the season. Of course, they may follow it with yet another sweep.

19. The Mets impending west coast trip isn’t really anything but a series of nine tough games. It’s not a litmus test because we know this team is good, and we also know they don’t have all of their pitching.

20. Starling Marte has responded to hearbreak by being great. If there is anyone who understands what it means to be a Met, it may just be him.

Finally An Apple Mets Fans Don’t Want To See

Ever since the 1980 season, New York Mets fans have loved the Home Run Apple. That Apple has become synonymous with the monster homers from Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza. For one evening, it actually rose for a single, well, it was Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam Single.

It should come as no surprise the Wilpons didn’t understand how much Mets fans loved that Home Run Apple. In fact, it left them scrambling before the opening of Citi Field to install a new one in center field. After not knowing where to put the old one, they finally found a fitting spot outside the main entrance leading into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Mets fans absolutely can not get enough of the Apple. Sure enough, Rob Manfred found a way to get Mets fans to no longer want it.

We discovered Apple TV purchased the rights to a Friday Night Game of the Week which will be streamed exclusively on their network. That means when Max Scherzer makes his Mets debut against his former Washington Nationals team, we will not get to hear GKR on the call.

As an aside, this must also be terrible for Nationals fans. As soon as he retires, Scherzer will likely have his number retired. More than that, he will one day become the first Nationals player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead of a hometown crew for the call, they get the national broadcasters.

In some ways, this is a good thing for Major League Baseball. We are seeing more and more people move to streaming services, and this is a way to reach a more national audience. Also, if you are doing this you are going to want to showcase things like Scherzer returning to Washington because it is a major story line.

That said, this isn’t great for fans. We all have our plans to watch the Mets whether that is an SNY or MLB TV subscription. Games over the first 12 weeks will be free. That means Friday’s game as well as the Mets June 10 game at the Los Angeles Angles will be free. However, this is a seven year deal. Eventually, if you are a fan who wants to watch 162 games, you need to eventually pay for Apple TV, which is right now $5/month with fees likely to rise in the future.

To make matters worse, there is also a Peacock TV deal. They are getting an exclusive Sunday morning game. Right now, the Mets will be featured in their June 26 game against the Miami Marlins. Peacock TV is an additional $5/month. Combined with Apple TV, that’s $10 per month or $120 per year. Of course, that is in addition to what you already pay to watch the Mets.

This is one of those things were it is good business for MLB, but it is bad business for fans. They’re removing games from local markets and charging the fans more. They’re gambling you’ll pay more or won’t care. In the end, this is the type of deal which may backfire in terms of generating fan interest, but in the end, MLB will have the revenue they want, so they won’t care.

Simply Amazin: Looking Bleak Podcast

Due to site difficulties, this is going up a week later than anticipated, but fortunately (or unfortunately), all of what was discussed remains relevant. Players discussed during this podcast included Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Melvin Mora, Mike Bordick, Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, Starling MarteBilly Taylor, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Harvey, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Ike Davis, Jake Marisnick, Blake Taylor, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Escobar, Shawon Dunston, Craig PaquettePedro MartinezCarlos Beltran,  and many, many more.

As always, thanks to Timothy Rider. It was an absolute blast. Please take a listen to the Simply Amazin podcast (by clicking on this link).

 

Matt Harvey Was Gooden, Strawberry, and Hernandez All In One

When Matt Harvey was with the New York Mets, there were some warning signs. The biggest might’ve been when he missed the postseason workout at Citi Field right before the Mets headed to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the 2015 NLDS. Of course, there was loud and unconfirmed speculation Harvey had a drug problem when he failed to show up to Citi Field leading to his suspension.

As we found out in his testimony in the criminal case involving Tyler Skaggs death from an overdose, Harvey has a drug problem. During his time with the Mets, Harvey was using cocaine while partying. This is just a sad reminder to Mets fans on how Dwight Gooden‘s and Darryl Strawberry‘s Hall of Fame caliber talent didn’t find its way to Cooperstown because of their drug abuse. Like with Harvey, neither Doc nor Darryl ever received the help they needed.

As we discovered, Harvey was using cocaine when he went to the Los Angeles Angels. Harvey also said teams never asked him if he had a drug problem. That does seem odd considering what people were very loudly whispering behind the scenes about him.

For Harvey, it wasn’t just cocaine. He also had a problem with painkillers. From his testimony, we never discovered the genesis of that abuse, and trying to play a guessing game here would be irresponsible and unfair. That said, Harvey did testify there was a culture where players used painkillers to try to stay on the field. The fact he received pills from a hockey player seems to point to a great issue across sports.

What’s astounding is Harvey saying he and other players, like Skaggs, would use/abuse the painkillers in the clubhouse and even the dugout. Make no mistake here. If Harvey and Skaggs were doing it, and they were getting pills from players in other sports, there is a much larger issue here. We do not know the full scope, and we may never find out. However, there is a significant problem when players have such easy access to these drugs, and they have no issue using them around other people.

We know it is something which led to Skaggs’ death. We know there are many players who have developed an addiction to painkillers. Former Packers QB Brett Favre is one of them. Some may have believed this was just an NFL issue, but apparently, it is much larger than that.

Now, reminiscent of Keith Hernandez in the infamous Pittsburgh Drug Trials, Harvey is testifying about his abuse and the abuse of a dead teammate. Hernandez estimated there were about 40% of players using cocaine back then, and we just saw Harvey testify about what he has seen with painkillers. Like Hernandez saw what happened to Doc and Darryl, Harvey saw what happened to Skaggs and perhaps other teammates.

For that matter, Harvey has his own what if story with his career. Ultimately, yes, TOS was what forever impacted Harvey’s career. However, we don’t know how much the painkillers and cocaine might’ve stopped him from getting the treatment he needed when he needed it. Fair or not, Harvey did testify he believes it all impacted his career negatively. There are those who will forever hold it against him no matter how unfair it is.

In the end, you can only hope Harvey is clean, and he has received or will receive the help he needs. You can also hope with new Mets owners there is an entirely different culture where players like Harvey get the help they need. As we look forward, you can’t help but wonder what this all means for Harvey as he will now publicly live the rest of his life as a known drug addict and as someone who is still looking to hold onto his fleeting MLB career.

Problem With Retiring Jerry Koosman’s And Keith Hernandez’s Numbers

It used to be in order for a New York Mets player to have their number retired, they needed to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a New York Met. That is why Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza had their numbers retired, and why Gary Carter didn’t. Had the Baseball Hall of Fame not treated Carter differently than every other Hall of Famer in baseball history, his number 8 would be in the rafters at Citi Field.

Somewhere along the way, perhaps not coincidentally coinciding with Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets, the Mets changed their policy on retiring numbers. First, it was Jerry Koosman. Then, it was Keith Hernandez. Certainly, we anticipate David Wright will be next followed by a massive argument amongst the fanbase as to who gets their numbers retired.

Therein lies the problem. When the Mets had a stringent policy, there was at least one. A player wasn’t slighted by not having their number retired, and they weren’t having their career or impact on the Mets belittled. Rather, there was a policy in place, but there was a Mets Hall of Fame available for some of the true Mets greats.

Now, there is admittedly a quagmire. While you can argue Koosman and Hernandez tweak the standard to impactful and great Mets who have won a World Series, Wright’s eventual number retirement will throw all of that out. What follows is really just chaos, and more importantly, a need for explanation on a number of players.

John Franco is the all-time leader in team history in saves, and he was the third team captain in history. You can argue his number should now be retired. If it should, do you double retire 31, or do you retire his 45? If you opt for 45, why not Tug McGraw too?

However, if you retire McGraw, do you then have to look at Armando Benitez, Jeurys Familia, and Jesse Orosco? All three have more saves and pitched on Mets pennant winning teams.

What happens to Edgardo Alfonzo? By WAR, Alfonzo is the Mets best middle infielder, and he ranks ahead of Hernandez in the rankings. He was part of the best infield in Major League history, was a clutch hitter, won a pennant, and he won the New York-Penn League championship as a manager.

Bud Harrelson was the first Met inducted into the team Hall of Fame, and he’s the only man to win a ring with the 1969 and 1986 teams. Howard Johnson was the first Met to have a 30/30 season, he’s the only Met to do it twice, and he was part of the 1986 Mets.

Of course, you have Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Both symbolize all that was great and went wrong with those 1980s teams. To this day, you could argue they’re also two of the most beloved Mets ever.

Everyone is going to have their line and opinion. Without clear standards, each and every one of these players will be slighted by not having their number retired. There are and will be more.

Yes, honoring Koosman and Hernandez is great. They deserve to be honored. It feels good to honor them.

What doesn’t sit right is all those who won’t get that honor now wondering why they haven’t.

Mets Who Wore 17 After Keith Hernandez

Since 1989, you would tune into the occasional New York Mets broadcast, and you would hear Howie Rose incredulous another Mets player wearing the number 17. With the New York Mets announcing Keith Hernandez‘s 17 will now be retired, we will be forever robbed of those moments, but we can look back at the players who wore the number after Hernandez left the Mets.

David Cone – Cone would change his number from 44 to 17 in honor of his teammate. It would be the number Cone wore when he led the league in strikeouts and tied Tom Seaver‘s then National League record of 19 strikeouts in a game.

Jeff McKnight – McKnight became the first player assigned the number after Hernandez wore it, and you could argue it was even more of an eyesore because it was the year the Mets had the underscore jerseys. Believe it or not, McKnight just had a knack for wearing great numbers. He would also wear David Wright‘s 5, Jose Reyes‘ 7, Carlos Beltran‘s 15, and Darryl Strawberry‘s 18.

Bret Saberhagen – Saberhagen changed from his usual 18 with the Kansas City Royals and the number he first had with the Mets after his good friend Cone was traded to the Toronto BLue Jays. While Saberhagen did have some success with the Mets, he was probably the player least suited to wearing the number after the bleach incident.

Brent MayneAgain with the former Royals wearing 17. Mayne’s first hit with the Mets was a walk-off RBI single off Dennis Eckersley to take the opening series of the season. Even after that, he still couldn’t get recognized on the 7 line on the way to the park.

Luis Lopez – Lopez was a utility player for the Mets for three years including the beloved team. His biggest hit with the Mets was the time he punched Rey Ordonez on the team bus. Hearkening back to the team photo incident between Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry, this may be the most Hernandez moment any of the subsequent players to wear the number 17 ever had.

Mike Bordick – Bordick was supposed to be the key pickup for the Mets to replace the injured Ordonez at short. He gave us all hope as he homered in his first Mets at-bat, but things would end badly as he would be benched for Kurt Abbott in the World Series, and he would return to the Baltimore Orioles in free agency. Worse yet, 1999 postseason hero Melvin Mora, who was traded for Bordick, would go on to be a star for the Orioles.

Kevin Appier – With Cone, Saberhagen, and then Appier, it seemed Royals pitchers really liked wearing 17 with the Mets. Appier came to the then pennant winning Mets in the hopes of winning a World Series, but unfortunately, he is forever known as the key piece sent to the Angels for Mo Vaughn.

Satoru KomiyamaThat Japanese Greg Maddux never was close to that spending one forgettable winless season with the Mets before returning to Japan.

Graeme LloydLloyd was one of the few who thrived with the Yankees who pitched well for the Mets. He didn’t last a full season as he and many of the 2003 Mets who battled under Art Howe was moved at the trade deadline.

Wilson DelgadoMets fans were thrilled to obtain Delgado in 2004 as he would be the return for Roger Cedeno. Delgado played 42 games for the Mets in 2004. He’d never appear in a Major League game after that.

Dae-Sung KooA largely forgettable LOOGY who will forever live in Mets lore for that impossible double off of Randy Johnson followed by that mad dash home from second on a Reyes’ bunt.

Jose LimaThe 2006 Mets pitching staff was so injured that we’d get Lima Time! for four starts. After struggling mightily, this marked the end of his MLB career as he then played internationally.

David NewhanThere really isn’t much to tell with Newhan. In his one year with the Mets, he proved himself to be that classic Four-A guy who annihilated Triple-A pitching but struggled in the majors.

Fernando TatisOmar Minaya first signed Tatís as an amateur and would bring him to the Mets organization. Tatís rewarded Minaya’s faith by winning the 2008 NL Comeback Player of the Year. For a franchise known for “what ifs,” you can’t help but wonder if the Mets don’t collapse for a second straight season if Tatis didn’t injure his shoulder. While Tatís had many memorable moments with the Mets, perhaps, his most memorable was his being one of the few actually capable of hitting it over the Great Wall of Flushing.

After Tatis, the Mets had finally said enough was enough. They were taking the number 17 out of circulation like they had done in the past with Willie Mays‘ 24. That meant the number was not going to be worn again. That is, unless, the next Rickey Henderson came long. However, now, with the number being officially retired, no one will ever wear Hernandez’s 17 again.

 

Wilmer Flores Is All That’s Left Worth Rooting For

Look at the postseason landscape. On the American League side, you have the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. So far, you have the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, and they are going to face one of the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers. While the series may be good, it’s not exactly an awe inspiring list of teams to root for to win the World Series.

Plain and simple, we know the Astros have cheated, and they have been unpunished and unapologetic about it. They are facing off against the Red Sox who have their own issues on that front, and they are led by Alex Cora, who was purportedly the ring leader of the entire operation. As we saw, Cora was fired for one year just for show.

When it comes to the National League, the Braves are the epitome of evil. Putting aside the history with Chipper Jones calling Mets fans closet Yankees fans, everything John Rocker, and really, every soul crushing loss, this is a racist fan base eagerly doing the racist Tomahawk Chop chant every game. Rooting for them is like rooting for the hunter in Bambi.

We know all about the Dodgers. There was the 1988 NLCS, and there was Chase Utley. They’re the team who signed Trevor Bauer. We should also mention they’re the favorite team of the Wilpons. No self respecting Mets fan should ever root for the Dodgers.

Understandably, Mets fans probably aren’t too eager to root for the Giants. After all, behind Madison Bumgarner and Conor Gillaspie, they beat the Mets in the 2016 Wild Card Game. There is also all things Barry Bonds. There is also Gabe Kapler, and the heinous things he has been alleged to do.

That should leave a Mets fan wondering what is left in this soulless landscape. Who is the hero who can emerge from all of this dredge? The answer is old friend Wilmer Flores.

Wilmer is the same player who cried at the very idea of leading the Mets only to win a walk-off homer his next chance. In fact, Wilmer has more walk-off hits than any Mets player. That’s a list which includes players like Edgardo Alfonzo, Carlos Beltran, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, and David Wright. Really, Wilmer has brought us much more joy than we ever could’ve imagined.

Now, he’s the only player really worth Mets fans rooting for this postseason. While we understandably don’t have much reason to root for any of the remaining teams, that goes double for the Braves, there is every reason to root for Wilmer. Hopefully, he and the Giants outlast the Dodgers and the Braves en route to Wilmer winning a World Series ring. After all, if anyone deserves it, it’s him.

Mets Must Go All-In At Trade Deadline

When making decisions at the trade deadline, it is not just about where your team is in the standings. It is also about where you are at as an organization. Right now, the Mets are 4.0 games up on the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, two teams who are under .500. As for the organization, well, they are in a much more tenuous spot.

After this season, Michael ConfortoJeurys Familia, Rich Hill, Aaron Loup, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Jonathan Villar will be free agents. After the following season, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Brandon Nimmo, and Kevin Pillar will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can also opt out of his contract, and Taijuan Walker can decline his player option.

Focusing more narrowly, after two years, the Mets could lose 2/3 of their outfield and 4/5 of their starting rotation. They can also lose four key set-up men as well as their closer. Put another way, this team is on the precipice of losing very important pieces of a team which is going to take it to the postseason this year.

Now, this is certainly a much different proposition with Steve Cohen at the helm than it was with the Wilpons. There is an implicit trust Cohen will continue trying to win. However, as we know, you’re not always successful identifying who to keep and who to let go as well as who the right replacements are.

When we look back to the early 90s, the Mets were coming off their best stretch in Mets history. They made the right decision letting Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez go. However, they made some bad calls like thinking Vince Coleman could replace Darryl Strawberry. They over relied on their belief Kevin Elster, Dave Magadan, and Gregg Jefferies could be first division starters. Of course, there was also the Worst Team Money Could Buy.

All told, when the Mets switched from build around a core to replacing and altering the core, things fell apart. We can look at other points in Mets history when that happened. It happened again when the Mets passed on Alex Rodriguez as part of a calamitous offseason after the 2000 pennant. The 2009 Mets made the mistake of keeping Oliver Perez. The 2017 Mets got their money tied up in Neil Walker, and they saw Robert Gsellman and Lugo couldn’t hang as starters for a full season.

In some ways, that leads us to now. The Mets have extremely important decisions to make on who stays and who goes. They need to see who the correct replacements are. From what we’ve see from this front office, we should have faith they are up to the task. That said, we all had very well placed faith in Frank Cashen, and he blew it up.

Seeing where the Mets are, the best decision they can make right now is to absolutely go for it. Yes, that may very well require overpaying for players and rentals. Back in 2015, that didn’t make much sense. It was year one of contending for a young core who was cost controlled. Their decisions, including letting Daniel Murphy walk, turned it into a two year window. That window slammed shut without a World Series.

Right now, the Mets window is definitely open, but it’s being propped open. Without the right options, this window can slam shut after this year. It may well be that after the 2022 season. The Mets definitely need to keep this possibility in mind as they look to add at the trade deadline.

Players like Kris Bryant and Trevor Story dramatically changes the fortunes of this team. The same can be said for a player like Jose Ramirez. It may hurt to overpay for Max Scherzer or another top of the line starter, but imagine a two headed monster of deGrom and Scherzer (and having deGrom insurance) as the Mets look to win a World Series.

Ultimately, the Mets are going to see radical changes to this roster over the next few years. They’re in first place now with a team capable of winning a World Series. They need to make sure they do everything they need to do to get that World Series, or they may be ruing the missed chance for a team in transition over the next few years.