J.D. Davis

How DH Hurts Mets

Since Brodie Van Wagenen began assembling his team, the overture was this was a team well built for the DH. In 2020, because of a pandemic, the Mets actually did get that DH. After all that hypothesizing about how much it would help the Mets, the end result was a last place finish.

There are many reasons why, and assuredly many would point to the pitching. However, it went much deeper than that. One of the big issues was team defense.

Again, the Mets team defense was atrocious with a -22 DRS. That was good for fifth worst in the majors. Over the past three seasons, the Mets -171 DRS is the worst in the National League and second worst in all of the majors.

This is in large part to an organizational philosophy which pre-dated Van Wagenen. The thought was to acquire as many bats as possible and to find a position for them. The Mets have been all too happy to get players and just stick them somewhere on the diamond.

This has led to J.D. Davis at third and left. Dominic Smith in left field. Brandon Nimmo in center. Michael Conforto playing all three outfield positions. Jeff McNeil playing four different positions. This goes on and on, and in some ways you can trace this tomfoolery all the way back to Lucas Duda playing the outfield.

Perhaps part of this has been the result of Jeff Wilpon running the baseball operations. That said, there has been a prevailing thought process with the Mets to not make the difficult decisions and to hold onto all of their good players. They have found it more prudent to play players out of position resulting in horrible defense, and as a result, the team failing to live up to their sometimes lofty expectations.

Now, taking a look at the Mets current roster, you can say Smith at first base and Pete Alonso at DH is an embarrassment of riches. In Alonso and Smith, the Mets have two cornerstone cost controlled players. As an organization, this is quite an enviable position. When you have those two spots with such high caliber and ceiling players, you don’t want to move on from them. That goes double when you can play them each everyday at first base and DH.

However, that is part of the problem.

While the Mets are set at first and DH, they are a disaster at other important positions. They don’t have a starting catcher, and really, their depth at the position is a question mark. They have no one really capable of playing third base on an everyday basis. They lack anyone in the organization truly capable of playing center everyday. The Mets desperately need at least 2/5 of a starting rotation filled, and they also need to build a bullpen.

Beyond that, the Mets have zero depth at Triple-A, and their Double-A depth is questionable. Put another way, the Mets are a mess, and even with Steve Cohen’s deep pockets, not every one of these areas can be addressed in free agency. It just can’t.

No, the Mets need to be put in a difficult position to have to make hard decisions. Frankly, the trade market sets up extraordinarily well for that right now. At the moment, we know Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor, and Blake Snell on the trade bloc. There are very likely other high profile players there for the taking as well.

Given how Van Wagenen ravaged the Mets farm system, there really isn’t the prospect capital to make those trades. Sure, you can trade a Brett Baty or a Mark Vientos, but if you do that, you take the paper thin depth you have and tear through it leaving you with next to no hope for the future. No, if the Mets are going to take that next step, they are going to have to take the surplus they have at positions like first, and they are going to have to make hard choices and make shrewd trades for top end talent at areas they have significant deficiencies.

If there is no DH, the Mets would almost be forced to move at least one of Alonso or Smith to get that top end player. However, with the DH, the impetus is not there. In fact, you could argue it irresponsible to not go into next season with both Alonso and Smith if there was a DH. As noted, therein lies the problem.

The Mets aren’t really in a position to trade top end talent for top end talent in a world where there is a DH. But, if they want real baseball in the National League in 2021, the Mets would be in prime position to do it, and teams would likely line up to grab one of Alonso or Smith thereby driving up the return the Mets could receive.

So yes, given the roster construct, you could argue the Mets are better with the DH. However, in terms of building the roster, the DH stagnates growth and creativity. The impetus to make a trade is gone, and with that, you likely lose out on the ability to make the Mets the best possible team they could be in 2021.

And besides all of that, the DH is bad for the Mets because it is bad for baseball. The short-sighted hope for 2021 needs to be counter-balanced against the next 10-100 years. When you look at it that way, pushing for a completely ineffective gimmick is just plain bad for baseball, and as a result, bad for the Mets.

Mets Should Not Trade Jeff McNeil For Francisco Lindor

The Mets have been linked to Francisco Lindor leading to various outlets comprising trade proposals. One such proposal from MLB Network has Jeff McNeil headlining a trade for Lindor.

Simply put, it makes zero sense for the Mets to trade Jeff McNeil even in a deal for a Lindor.

The need for Lindor is obvious, and the Mets would match-up very well with the Cleveland Indians. One reason why is the Mets have logjams at different positions with cost controlled players. Those players could fulfill a reciprocal need for the Indians.

At first base, the Mets have Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. Both would be a replacement and upgrade over the free agent Carlos Santana.

At shortstop, the Mets have Andres Gimenez, Luis Guillorme, and Amed Rosario. Any one of these three could be a short to long term replacement for Lindor.

At catcher, the Mets have defensive specialists in Tomas Nido and Ali Sanchez. That would at least seem to be of interest to an Indians team who puts a priority on catcher defense and framing. Notably, Roberto Perez will be a free agent after this year, and Austin Hedges will be one the ensuing season.

With the caveat of not knowing how the Indians value these players, or whether they’d take J.D. Davis off the Mets hands, it would seem mixing and matching from these groups could largely get a deal done.

Honestly, this is trading at its best. The Mets have a surplus of quality Major Leaguers at different positions. Those players would fulfill very specific needs the Indians have. This is why the Mets and Indians match up so well.

Of course, this assumes this isn’t an Indians fire-sale. Considering the Indians aren’t looking to trade Jose Ramirez, even with his being a free agent after the 2021 season, this appears to be a very safe assumption. That assumption would be bolstered by a presumed pursuit of McNeil.

The reasons why the Indians would want McNeil are obvious. He’s as versatile a player as there is in the game. He plays well defensively at second and both corner outfield spots. With work on his throws, he could be a very good third baseman.

In addition to his defense and versatility, he’s a good hitter. Since his MLB debut, McNeil has a 139 OPS+. Over the past three years, that ranks him as the 13th best hitter in all of baseball.

If the Mets are going to be bold and add players like Lindor, they need McNeil. They need his versatility, defense, and bat. Moreover, any deals the Mets make need to clear surplus and not detract from other areas.

In the end, the Mets have more than enough pieces to make a very good trade for both teams without including McNeil. With that being the case, there is absolutely no reason for the Mets to include McNeil in a trade for Lindor.

Look Past Francisco Lindor, Mets Need Mega-Deal With Indians

The Cleveland Indians are known to be floating Francisco Lindor, and with this being the Indians, they are looking to probably try to contend while also making any deals. That would make sense given their pitching and their keeping another perennial MVP caliber player in Jose Ramirez.

Still, the Indians want us to believe they are cash strapped and need to move a player like Lindor. Presumably, anyone not named Ramirez or Shane Bieber is available to be traded. If that is the case, the Mets need to push and push hard to get a mega-deal done.

In addition to Lindor, the Indians also have Roberto Perez. He’s a 31 year old catcher who is elite defensively with a still very questionable bat. Perez is a relatively expensive $5.5 million, and he will be a free agent after the season. For a Mets team who needs a starting catcher, Perez would be enticing. He also shouldn’t interfere with the presumed chase for James McCann.

On the pitching front, the Indians have Zach Plesac who was an issue for them in terms of the COVID19 infection. The Indians may be reluctant to move him pre-arbitration, and they should. Still, if there are issues between him and the team, the Mets are in a prime position to grab him.

Looking deeper than Plesac, there are useful bullpen arms like Nick Wittgren and a good fourth outfielder in Delino DeShields. Both players are arbitration eligible and could cost more than the Indians are willing to play them. Depending on a potential deal, the Mets could and should be interested in grabbing them in a potential deal.

In return, well, the Mets have plenty to offer the Indians. Given the glut at first base, the Mets could offer one of Pete AlonsoJ.D. Davis, or Dominic Smith. With Davis, the Mets could or should offer both. There is also Brandon Nimmo in the outfield as well as Andres GimenezJeff McNeil, and/or Amed Rosario in the middle infield. Certainly, if you can obtain Perez, the Mets should be willing to move Tomas Nido and/or Ali Sanchez.

If you are going to move from a pool of that Major League talent, thereby freeing up logjams, you can then be in a position to hold onto Francisco AlvarezRonny Mauricio, and/or the other Mets top prospects. That said, if the Mets are given a window to extend Lindor, all bets should be off. Looking at Mookie Betts last year, getting a top five player in his prime is a franchise changer, and it could be what the Mets need to get to the World Series.

All told, the Indians have some pieces the Mets desperately need. Between the Mets need to free up their logjams coupled with the Indians purported need to clear payroll and the Mets newfound financial strength, there is real potential here for a mega-deal. Hopefully, the two sides can get together and get it done.

 

World Series Reminding Us Justin Turner Could Be Mets 2021 Third Base Option

The 2020 season only confirmed J.D. Davis isn’t an everyday player because he can’t field at all. With that being the case, the Mets need to find a new third baseman this offseason.

The first option could be Jeff McNeil, who was actually the Opening Day third baseman the past two years. The issue with him is despite his arm. His throws were erratic, which gives you pause before giving him the third base job.

With their being questions about whether Robinson Cano would be willing or able to move to third, that leaves the Mets looking outside the organization for a third base option.

There may be options on the trade market like Nolan Arenado, but with Brodie Van Wagenen needlessly stripping the farm of its best players, that’s much easier said than done. That probably leaves the free agent market where one name stands out above the rest.

Justin Turner.

We all know the idiocy and cheapness which led to Turner being non-tendered by the Mets. With the Wilpons gone, Steve Cohen can look to right this wrong and bring Turner back to Queens. As we saw last night, Turner can still play.

In 2020, Turner had a poor -2 OAA rating. However, in the preceding year, he was a very good 4 OAA. Looking at his OAA on the whole, he’s been alternating good and bad seasons.

DRS paints a slightly different picture. From 2014 – 2018, Turner was a very good defensive third baseman. However, in the past two years there has been a drop off with him posting consecutive negative DRS seasons.

Taking the bigger picture, we see a player still capable of handling the position.

At the plate, Turner is still a very good hitter with a 140 wRC+. That’s an improvement over his 132 in 2019. Looking at his Baseball Savant stats, Turner posted very good to elite numbers in barrels, hard hit rates, and whiff percentage.

Overall, even at 35, Turner has remained a very good baseball player.

That’s somewhat of a problem. He’s 35, and he will soon turn 36 after the World Series. While his stats over the past few years indicate he could be a good bet in 2021, time and again, we have seen players in their late 30s lose it overnight.

With Turner, we may also see a player who may want to retire or just stay close to home. That would certainly be understandable. However, if he’s truly available and willing to return, the Mets should pounce.

Turner is in the unique position of entering the clubhouse as a guy who dealt with the ups and downs of New York. On that note, he can certainly help the young Mets core along the way.

Another thing Turner presents is he’s coming from the Dodgers. Fact is, the Dodgers do things better than everyone, maybe even the Rays. Turner knows exactly what the Mets don’t know.

Remember the Mets aren’t just trying to win the 2021 World Series. No, they’re going through with a complete organization overhaul. They’re trying to build a team who can compete each and every year just like the Dodgers.

The Dodgers just don’t have the most talent on the field or the deepest pockets. They also have access to the best analytics and technology. They know things no one knows.

With Turner being there from the beginning of this Dodgers regime, he also knows all of the information disseminated to players. He knows what’s worked, what hasn’t, and the best way to communicate the information to players.

No, he doesn’t know how the information was tabulated and analyzed. However, he knows it exists, and knowing the information exists really helps your organization seek it out. After all, you can’t look for something without knowing that something exists.

In the end, Turner on a short term deal solves the Mets 2021 third base issues. More than that, he helps your organization in their process of an analytical overhaul. All told, from a Mets perspective, Turner could be the most important free agent available on the market. As such, they should very seriously consider bringing him back to Queens.

Hopefully Mets See Defense Will Win 2020 World Series

Corey Seager was the NLCS MVP and deservedly so, but the defense of Mookie Betts in RF changed the momentum of the NLCS. Without either of his home run robberies, the Atlanta Braves win the pennant.

Like with the Braves, defense was the calling card of the Tampa Bay Rays in winning the pennant.

These are two GREAT defensive teams. By DRS, they were both the second best defensive teams in their league. Over the past two years, the Dodgers are the best defensive team in the MLB, and the Rays are the third best defensive team in the AL.

These two teams prove yet again defense matters and defense wins championships, or at the very least, it puts you in a position where you can win.

As previously detailed on this site, there is a correlation between defense and winning in baseball. That continued this year with all of the top eight defensive teams making the postseason. Conversely, only two of the 13 worst defensive teams made the postseason.

This year, the Mets ranked as the fifth worst defense in the majors with a -22 DRS. Since they last made the postseason in 2016, they are an MLB worst -242 DRS. Over that time frame, they’re 18 games under .500.

Defense, or the lack thereof, is the main reason. Year-in and year-out, they pretend like it doesn’t matter, and they make just plain dumb decisions.

Case-in-point is their insistence on playing J.D. Davis. Whether it was left field or third, he’s been the worst defender in all of baseball. Despite that, the Mets shoehorn into the lineup because of his bat.

That decision has ripple effects throughout the team. The main issue is Brandon Nimmo shifts from the corner OF position, where he rates well, to center where he’s not good at all. In essence, by forcing just one bat into the lineup, you’re failing to get the most out of your pitching due to a horrendous defense, and you’re failing to get the most out of Nimmo, who is a very good player.

We don’t see that with teams like the Rays and Dodgers, at least on a daily basis. No, they realize defense matters, and they put their defenders where they should play. The end result is good to great defense, better results from their pitching, and ultimately, winning. These two teams are everything the Mets haven’t been under the direction of the Wilpons.

Fortunately, Steve Cohen has purchased the team from the Wilpons. Already, he’s making plans to beef up the analytics department to bring it up to par with teams like the Dodgers and Rays. We can only hope that means far less of Davis in the field and a whole lot more winning.

Mets Should Lean Into Sinkerballers By Re-Signing Marcus Stroman And Rick Porcello

Right now, the Mets two starters are Jacob deGrom and David Peterson. With Peterson, the Mets have a promising pitcher who is a sinkerball pitcher. In terms of Peterson, the question is what do you do to help him take the next step forward in his career.

The first part of the plan should be to improve the infield defense. With the Meta apparently moving from Amed Rosario to Andres Gimenez at short, they already took a big step forward on that front.

Rosario continued to make strong steps forward defensively, and he was a good defender, but he was not on Gimenez’s level. Rosario was a -3 DRS and 2 OAA to Gimenez’s 1 DRS and 5 OAA. At a 5 OAA, Gimenez was actually tied for the second best defensive SS in the game.

At second, Robinson Cano rebounded defensively with a 3 OAA. On that note, Cano was better moving to his left. That’s an important consideration for an aging player who probably needs to move off of second.

It’s not about ability per se, but rather durability. He’s going to be 38 next year, and he’s broken down a bit in each of the last few years while playing second. A switch to a less demanding position like third should help him extend his career.

It also solves a real issue for the Mets as third base is a huge problem. Jeff McNeil was supposed to play third, but he had throwing issues not too dissimilar from what we once saw with Wilmer Flores. That led the Mets to move McNeil off the position and replace him with J.D. Davis.

Davis was a disaster at third. He had a -8 DRS, which is he had enough innings to qualify, would’ve had him as the worst in the position in the majors. His -3 OAA was also the worst in the majors at the position.

By moving Cano to third, you finally take away Davis’ glove (which needs to happen anyway), and second is re-opened for McNeil. At second, McNeil has been a good defender with a career 4 OAA and 1 DRS.

By going with an infield of McNeil, Cano, and Gimenez, they have made it a significantly improved defensive infield. In fact, you can argue it’s a very good one at that.

As an aside, Nolan Arenado is purportedly on the trade bloc, and the Mets have a logjam at first with Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. Putting Arenado alongside Gimenez would possibly even surpass Robin Ventura and Rey Ordonez.

While Arenado may be considered a pipe dream, that’s the direction the Mets should be angling. That’s not just because of Steve Cohen’s deep pockets. Rather, it’s because the Mets should be maximizing their defense.

Part of that will include moving on from Wilson Ramos. Ramos is a catcher of a different era. That’s not his fault, but rather one of Brodie Van Wagenen’s front office. Moving on from Ramos to another catcher better at framing, whether that be J.T. Realmuto, James McCann, or someone else entirely, the Mets will be much better poised defensively.

They will also be better poised to handle a pitch to contact sinkerball staff. That will help Peterson succeed in his second season.

This will also help Stroman, who for reasons previously detailed, should be the Mets priority right now. The question is who should then round out the Mets rotation with Noah Syndergaard rehabbing from Tommy John.

There is an argument to be made for Rick Porcello to return on another one year deal. Certainly, Porcello will be driven to have a better 2021 after his 2020 was terrible. It’s quite possible he wants that chance to return to the Mets, a team he grew up loving, and prove to them he’s a pitcher who can help them win.

Now, Porcello’s stats were a very mixed bag last year. His ERA+ was a career worst 75. He let up an inordinate amount of barrels last year too.

Behind that was a 3.33 FIP, which is quite good. Porcello was also above average in terms of hard hit percentage, and he posted very good exit velocity rates.

You could argue with a vastly superior infield defense Porcello could very well be a good stopgap for Syndergaard and/or insurance for a Peterson sophomore slump. In the end, if the Mets are moving in the direction of a pitch to contact staff, they should really lean into it and make their team the best suited they can to head into that direction.

As we’ve seen in years like 1999 and 2006 building a superior infield defense can help your team overcome pitching deficiencies. It can help ground ball pitchers be reliable, post strong numbers, and pitch deep into games.

For the Mets, there are many directions they can head towards with a new owner and front office. Given the presence of Peterson and what’s available on the free agent market, this is a direction the Mets should seriously consider pursuing.

Brodie Van Wagenen’s Failure On Full Display As Mets Postseason Hopes Die

The Mets had Jacob deGrom on the mound against the Nationals. That meant they had their best chance to stay alive. It didn’t happen.

Why?

Well, the answer is Brodie Van Wagenen. He’s a terrible GM who created a highly flawed team who is going to finish under .500, miss the postseason, and may finish in last place.

With two outs in the fourth, Wilson Ramos couldn’t block a ball a Major League catcher should be able to block. That led to the second run of the game for the Nationals.

If you recall, the Mets entered this season with two everyday outfielders. That has led the Mets to play players out of position. Worse yet, with Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith, the Mets continue to put three first baseman in the lineup.

That had Smith in left running hard into a wall. On that play, Andrew Stevenson would circle the bases for an inside the park homer tying the game at 3-3.

Miguel Castro would relieve deGrom to start the sixth. He immediately put two on putting the game in jeopardy. The Mets brought in Edwin Diaz, who is poor with inherited runners, into the game. Diaz allowed the go-ahead sacrifice fly to put the Nationals ahead for good.

In the seventh, Brandon Nimmo gave the Mets a chance by hitting an infield single. That didn’t matter as the -0.2 WAR J.D. Davis, the player who Van Wagenen seems to tout as his proof he’s not completely incompetent, struck out to end the game and the Mets postseason chances.

In the second half of the doubleheader, Rick Porcello struggled, and the Mets lost 5-3.

In the end, it was Van Wagenen’s players who failed this year, and as a result, Van Wagenen is the reason the Mets won’t make the expanded postseason.

Wilmer Flores Almost Ends Mets Postseason Hopes

As the day progressed, the rained out New York Mets hopes of making the postseason lied in only one scenario. They had to win out while the San Francisco Giants were swept by the San Diego Padres.

The Padres are a very good team, so it was at least possible. With the Padres up 3-2 entering the sixth inning of the seven inning game (thanks again Manfred), there was increasing hope. That hope seemingly vanished when Wilmer Flores stepped to the plate:

This should infuriate every Mets fan.

Flores was a fan favorite and productive bench player who wanted to be a Met. Instead of looking to keep him around, the Mets non-tendered him and made up an arthritic condition he didn’t actually have.

Worse yet, Flores has been more productive than any player Brodie Van Wagenen has brought into the Mets organization. That includes Jed Lowrie who actually did have a knee issue.

They tried to replace him too by trading for J.D. Davis who was actually a significantly worse defender than even what they made Flores out to be.

Overall, the Mets would’ve been much better off with Flores. That’s not only because he was better than every single Brodie Van Wagenen alternative. It’s also because Flores wouldn’t have been in San Francisco trying to end the Mets season.

Fortunately for the Mets, Trent Grisham hit a seventh inning walk-off homer for the Padres (in San Francisco) to give the Padres a 6-5 victory and to keep the Mets hopes alive.

Tomorrow, the Mets will have to win two games while hoping Flores doesn’t have any more magic in his bat. Whatever the end result, we’re not too far away from Jeff Wilpon and Van Wagenen making stupid decisions that has Flores in San Francisco with worse options on the Mets roster.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Rays of Hope Gone

No, the Mets have not been eliminated from the postseason . . . yet. Sadly, even with some things breaking their way, they couldn’t take advantage:

1. People can anoint Trevor Bauer the Cy Young all they want, but Jacob deGrom still has a start remaining to establish once again he’s the best pitcher in baseball.

2. Again, putting deGrom up against pitchers not pitching in the NL or AL East is absurd as NL Central and West pitchers face completely different competition.

3. On that note, the level of competition the two pitchers have faced is completely different with Bauer dominating some of the absolute worst offensive teams in the game.

4. You do have to wonder how different things would be with deGrom’s campaign and really this entire Mets season of Wilson Ramos was capable of tagging a guy at home plate.

5. Edwin Diaz finally has more saves than blown saves this year.

6. Mets continue to be the Mets first announcing Michael Conforto was getting a day off for a must win game and then finally admitting he had a hamstring issue.

7. Conforto’s chances of signing an extension increased not just with Steve Cohen buying the Mets, but also with Sandy Alderson returning to the organization.

8. Should Conforto sign an extension, he’s going to knock David Wright off the top of the Mets all-time leaderboards.

9. It’s a shame Conforto broke down and Dominic Smith went in a slump for the final last ditch push. It’s a downright shame no one was really able to pick them up like they picked up the team this season.

10. Between J.D. Davis batting second or third despite his not hitting and Michael Wacha making starts despite his having no business pitching another inning for this team, it’s clear Brodie Van Wagenen decided to make this season about showcasing his acquisitions in the hopes of getting a new job.

11. Steven Matz went from breaking out in the second half last year to a great Spring Training to maybe pitching his way to a non-tender.

12. Matz is a clear example of a guy Jeff Wilpon would instruct dropped from his team with him being shocked the player succeeded away from the team. For some reason, despite this having happened continuously, there is still a contingent of Mets fans who still defend the team on this type of dumb decisions.

13. Ultimately, the juiced ball last year and the abbreviated 60 game season have made it near impossible to have a real evaluation and analysis of players.

14. Speaking of which, it was great to see Pete Alonso remind us how great he can be. The question is if he can be that over a 162 game season without the juiced ball. There are many indicators which suggest he can, but we still don’t know.

15. The Rays showed the Mets all the things this organization has flat out ignored with defense and good base running actually matter, and the end game isn’t to collect a bunch of bats to plug and play regardless of fit.

16. Again, we see in this series Seth Lugo can be a starter. However, the bullpen is a flat out mess without him.

17. Fortunately, the Mets have the deep pockets of Steve Cohen, and the beginnings of the right front office to address not only the bullpen, but also catcher, third, center, and the rotation.

18. It looks like Alderson is going to get his chance to do what he wanted to do when he took over the Mets. Essentially, that’s exactly what the Dodgers did.

19. After these last four games, it’s good riddance to the Wilpons. That’s both with the Mets and the horrendous SNY they created.

20. There’s no more fitting end to the Wilpon era than the team finishing below .500 despite having a top offense, the best pitcher in baseball, and an expanded postseason.

Game Recaps

No Rays of Hope after this Mets Loss

Pete Alonso Returns

Mets Ensure Under .500 Finish With Brodie’s Pitching Staff

Sandy Alderson Back To Fix What Brodie Van Wagenen Did To His Team

According to reports, Steve Cohen is bringing Sandy Anderson back to the Mets as an advisor, and he is planning on finding a replacement for Brodie Van Wagenen. Both are excellent and needed decisions.

When it comes to Van Wagenen, it’s difficult to quantify exactly how much damage he has done to the well built and talented Mets organization gift wrapped to him from Alderson. Essentially, all that Alderson built needs to be rebuilt.

Van Wagenen was given a starting staff comprised of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz. Behind them were well regarded prospects in Justin Dunn, Anthony Kay, and Simeon Woods Richardson.

The Mets rotation over the final week of the 2020 season will be deGrom, Rick Porcello, maybe Matz, and who knows what else?

The position player core was remarkably cheap and talented. There was Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, and Amed Rosario. Behind them was Andres Gimenez and Jarred Kelenic.

Sure, there were some bad contracts, but they were short term in nature, and they were not going to serve as an impediment to either building on or retaining this core.

For example, the Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes contacts were set to expire after this season. That coincided perfectly with having to have the money to re-sign deGrom and to have extension talks with Conforto, Matz, and Syndergaard.

Instead, the Mets no longer have Kelenic giving them a buffet against losing one of Conforto or Nimmo. They also have Robinson Cano‘s onerous contract on the books which already served as an impediment to re-signing Wheeler.

That’s nothing to say of the quality prospect purge in the same of finding a late inning defensive replacement in center for a team who already had Juan Lagares and adding J.D. Davis to a team already overstocked in 1B/DH players.

Couple this with the Mets getting rid of Wilmer Flores for nothing only for him to be more productive than anyone Van Wagenen brought into the organization and signing Jed Lowrie for $20 million to get eight pinch hitting attempts, and the Van Wagenen stint as GM has been an unmitigated disaster.

If you want to point to Van Wagenen’s drafts as a positive, you should. However, in doing that, remember, that was a scouting group built by Alderson and Omar Minaya. The Mets will be keeping both advisors.

When you take everything into account, Alderson built the Mets to be a competitive team in 2019 and 2020. With any luck, he had a deep farm system to make the types of trades he made in 2015 to help get the team over the top.

The real window for this Mets team was supposed to open in 2021. Given the talent on the Major League roster and in the farm system, it promised to be a 1980s like run.

Instead, Alderson is back to figure out how yo fix this mess. Fortunately for him, he won’t have Van Wagenen or Jeff Wilpon standing in his way. Instead, he will have an owner with deep pockets who intends to let smart baseball people like Alderson do their jobs.