Orel Hershiser

Should the Mets Bring Jimmy Rollins Onboard?

Jimmy Rollins has been a career .264/.324/.418 hitter.  In the prime of his career, he was a .286/.342/.468 hitter.  In 2007, he predicted the Phillies would win the NL East, and he backed it up by being the MVP that year.  He was a clubhouse leader on a Phillies team that went to the postseason five straight years and won the 2008 World Series.  He’s won four Gold Gloves at shortstop.  Rollins has been a very good major league player.  The problem is Rollins isn’t that player anymore.

Last year, Rollins hit .224/.285/.358 in 144 games with the Dodgers.  There’s no sugar coating it.  Rollins wasn’t good last year.  It’s why the Dodgers called up Corey Seager at the end of the year, and why Rollins and Seager split time at shortstop during the NLDS.  Despite his struggles, Rollins was able to latch on with the Chicago White Sox this year.  In 41 games, Rollins hit .221/.295/.329.  It is no wonder why for the second straight year Rollins has been pushed aside for a shortstop prospect.  This year it was Tim Anderson, and this year it came much quicker.  Rollins has been designated for assignment.  He’s now 37 years old, and he is facing the very real prospect that his career might be over.

It might be time for the Mets to throw Rollins a lifeline.

Even with how poor Rollins is playing, he’s still a better player than what they have.  With the Kelly Johnson addition, the Mets have one spot left on the bench that is going to Matt Reynolds.  Even in a two year spiral, Rollins is playing better than Reynolds.  Additionally, Rollins has been a proven leader on a World Series winning team.  As we saw last year with Juan Uribe, you cannot add enough veteran bench pieces to a team that has World Series aspirations.

Now, one thing that is obvious is Mets fans don’t like Rollins.  They don’t like anyone from those Phillies teams especially Chase Utley.  With that said, Mets fans will get over it if Rollins is a positive contributor.  The Mets fans had no issue with Orel Hershiser in 1999, and they had no issue with Orlando Hernandez a/k/a El Duque in 2006.  There were no issues with Kelly Johnson either last year or this year.  Ultimately, all Mets fans want is to win.  They will cheer whoever helps them win.  That includes Jimmy Rollins.

Overall, the Mets should look into adding Jimmy Rollins into the mix.

2016 Shouldn’t Be a Disappointing Season

Between 1984 – 1990, the Mets finished in second place or better.  Over the course of these seven seasons, the Mets averaged 95 wins.  Without question, this was the best stretch in Mets history.  It’s strange to think that any point in time your team averages 95 wins over the course of five seasons, you are disappointed.  However, as Ron Darling expained to Mike Francesa, he feels “very disappointed” that the Mets didn’t accomplish more.

While Dariling’s feelings are understandable, and many Mets fans would agree with him, there are a number of reasons that we can point to as the reason why the Mets didn’t win more.  Rick Sutcliffe went an amazing 16-1 after the Cubs acquired him helping them win the division in 1984.  The Mets had to contend with a really good Cardinals team year in and year out.  The Mets were snakebit with injuries during the 1987 season.  The Mets ran into Orel Hershiser, who had one of the greatest seasons for a pitcher ever in 1988, in the NLCS.  However, truth be told Davey Johnson managed a horrific series.  In 1989, the team was in transition, and in  1990, the Pittsburgh Pirates were just better and were embarking on their own run.  All of these reasons are valid, but the main reason everyone points to would be the drug problems, namely with Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.

There’s another reason why those Mets teams only got one shot at a World Series – the postseason format.  Back in that time frame, the only teams that went to the postseason were the division winners.  In today’s game, it would be unheard of a team winning 98 games not only missing the postseason, but also missing the postseason by three games.  If you apply, the current postseason rules and divisional formats to the 1980’s, the Mets would have had won the NL East for all seven of those seasons.  Its possible that instead of talking about the 1986 World Series, we’re talking about the Mets’ dynasty.  It’s possible the Mets would’ve won multiple World Series during that stretch.  It’s also possible that like the Braves in the 90’s, the Mets would only win one World Series, and we would be left questioning what happened.

Whatever may be the case, it’s apparent that those Mets teams did not get as many chances to reach the postseason as this current Mets team will.  Last year, the Mets won the NL East with 90 wins.  From 1984 – 1990, the Mets only won the NL East in the two seasons they won 100 games.

There is no reason for this Mets team to only go to the postseason twice with their current core group of players.  Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard are under team control until 2019.  Young players like Michael Conforto already contributing,  There are big prospects like Dilson Herrera and Amed Rosario who we should see within the next few seasons at Citi Field contributing to what is already a World Series contending team.  Without being too unreasonable, I believe this Mets team is set to contend for a longer period of time than Ron Darling’s Mets’ teams.  To expect that seems unreasonable, but when you consider the young talent already on the team and in the pipeline, it’s certainly possible.

So before the Mets play their home opener today, they’re going to raise 2015 National League Champions flag.  As we saw again that postseason, there is a lot that can happen along the way that can help you advance in each series.  If not for Daniel Murphy having a game for the ages, and the Dodgers being unable to hit deGrom despite him having nothing, the Mets lose in the NLDS.  The Mets are instead raising at 2015 National League East flag.  So no, the 2016 season is not World Series or bust, nor in retrospect is the Mets only winning one World Series from 1984 – 1990 really disappointing.

With that said, I don’t blame Ron Darling for feeling the way he does.  I won’t blame the current Mets players from feeling the same way about 2015.  There is a World Series championship in the Mets clubhouse.  Whether that is in 2016 or later, we do not know yet.  Right now, I will say that as long as this Mets group wins one World Series, I won’t be disappointed because I will have been able to see something that has only happened twice in the Mets 54 year history.  No matter what happens in 2016, it promises to be a special season, and I can’t wait to watch each and every minute of it.

Lets Go Mets.

 

Time to Slay Some Demons

Of course the Dodgers are having Orel Hershiser throw out the first pitch tonight. Hershiser was the main reason for the first time I was ever scarred by sports. The presence of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley make it even worse

As a sports fan, I carry a lot of pain from these three men. As a child, I was crushed by 1988. As an adult, I was left flabbergasted by 2007 and 2008. It meant that I couldn’t take my father to a World Series game. Once again, the Dodgers, Rollins, and that coward Utley stand in the way. 

I’m not sure Mets fans can take another loss here, not psychologically. All the euphoria that ensued after the Yoenis Cespedes trade would be gone. The anger would return. The same anger we saw prior to the trade deadline. Initially, it would be directed at Utley. Then Terry Collins. From there, who knows?  

That’s why this is the biggest game the Mets have played in nine years. It’s not so much advancing to the NLCS as it is who they’re playing. Under different circumstsnces, winning the NL East might’ve been enough. Not now. The Mets have to win tonight. They have to stay those demons. 

I have to take my Dad to a World Series game. 

All Is Forgiven Lawrence

The best part of any rivalry is having a foil. In the Mets-Braves rivalry, that foil was always Chipper Jones

I remember during his 1999 MVP year, the Mets-Braves rivalry was at its height. There was John Rocker insulting everyone. It may be hard to believe, but Shea Stadium was built into a much bigger lather than Citi Fieldcwas last night. However, there was another player Mets fans hated more than Rocker. It was Chipper Jones. 

After the Braves swept the Mets in late September 1999, it looked like the Mets may miss the playoffs again. After the series, Chipper famously needled a Mets fans saying, “Now all Mets fans can go home and put their Yankee stuff on.”  He hit .267/.517/.368 in the NLDS. For his career, he hit .309/.406/.543 with 49 homers and 159 RBIs. 

Chipper would hit .313/.407/.557 with 19 homeruns and 55 RBIs. He hit so well at Shea, that he named his son Shea. He tormented the Mets and their fans for 19 long years. The Mets fans only response was the “LARRY!” chants. That one came courtesy of an Orel Hershiser call into the Fan. Other than that, Mets fans just had to endure his career.

After Chipper Jones built a Hall of Fame career off of the Mets, he’s apparently now rooting for the Mets:

https://twitter.com/bbtn/status/653973386121605120

I knew the Mets were getting some bandwagon fans, but this is ridiculous. However, if Larry, sorry Chipper, wants to come along for the ride, he can hop aboard.  He earned that right when he ripped Chase Utley:

So, welcome aboard Chipper. Nice to finally have you on our side.