The New York Mets recognized they were not going to win in 2023. As a result, they had a fire sale (even if they don’t want to call it one) trading away Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, Dominic Leone, Tommy Pham, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander. That was then followed by reports the Mets are not going to try to win a World Series in 2024, but promised to put out a team which could contend for the Wild Card.
With that the rest of the 2023 season is about the future. To some degree, we have already seen that with Francisco Álvarez surpassing Omar Narváez as the Mets primary catcher, and Brett Baty continuing to work through a tough rookie season. The Mets took it a step further with Buck Showalter actually allowing Mark Vientos to DH against Zack Greinke instead of turning to Daniel Vogelbach.
With the trades, Starling Marte on the IL, and Brandon Nimmo having a quad issue during batting practice, we saw DJ Stewart, Danny Mendick, and Rafael Ortega in the lineup. Putting aside the Mets now trying to finish in the bottom six to preserve their draft position, those players being in the lineup, let alone on the roster, does not fortify the Mets plans to build for the future.
Seeing those players in the lineup and the Mets fire sale, it is now time to call up Ronny Mauricio.
Now, is Mauricio ready for the majors? Well, in all honesty, the answer is probably not. He still only has a 5.7 BB%, which is an improvement over what he posted in Doube-A Binghamton last season. His strikeout rate is down as well. Meanwhile, he is struggling to find a defensive home away from shortstop.
To a certain degree, we can argue Mauricio has gotten as far as he could in Triple-A. He is still very much the aggressive hitter now that he was to start the season. In fact, he’s very much the same player he was all of last season. At this point, it may just be that Mauricio needs to see Major League pitching to see what he needs to do to become a Major Leaguer.
Put another way, maybe it is time to let Mauricio fail. Let him go struggle against Major League pitching and see he needs to be more patient and/or more selective at the plate. Let him start to learn the lesson it took Jose Reyes nearly four seasons to learn. Get him on the right path and don’t let him go down the same path Amed Rosario did.
If the Mets were contenders, there is no room for learning on the job. However, they’re not contending. Quite the opposite.
For the moment, the Mets have to determine how to better use the final months of the season. Should they completely waste the playing time on players like Stewart, Mendick, and/or Ortega, or do they give Mauricio a shot? Do they let him learn what it takes to be a Major League player while getting the benefit of Major League coaching as he tries to continue to adapt as a hitter while learning new positions,.
The Mets are now looking to win in 2025, which means their young players need to start taking leaps in 2024. The best way to help that process is to get Mauricio learning how to be a Major Leaguer now. He’s done all he is going to do in Triple-A, and now, it is time for him to start learning what he can only learn in the majors.
Right now, the New York Mets are 34-40. They’ve recently lost a home series to the St. Louis Cardinals. Good luck finding hope for this season.
The Mets are 13.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They’re seven games back in the Wild Card.
Only the St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Colorado Rockies have a worse record than the Mets. The Mets have lost a series to all three of those teams.
Mark Canha and Tommy Pham are playing well lately. They give a team a veteran bat and presence. Daniel Vogelbach is hot of late, so you can hope he can keep it going until another GM is dumb enough to trade for him.
Point is there are assets, and there could be teams looking to trade sooner rather than later. After all, teams like San Diego and Seattle are always desperate to make a trade.
For various reasons, the Mets just shouldn’t expect much in return. We’re not talking about game changing players, and Billy Eppler is the Mets GM. Maybe if Steve Cohen eats some money, they can maximize the returns.
In reality, you’re not doing this for the lottery ticket prospect. Mostly, you’re doing it for the prospects and young players who are here.
Mark Vientos should at least be the DH. Ronny Mauricio should now get the call-up to play whatever position he is going to play. You need them to get acclimated to the majors and be ready to take on a big role in 2024.
You need to let David Peterson finish the season in the rotation. It’s time to see if he can be a fifth starter, reliever, or look to cut bait. After all, they’re effectively doing that already with Tylor Megill (he’s really a reliever).
Maybe take a glance at Luke Ritter. Sure, he’s an older prospect with very little Triple-A experience, but he’s breaking out this season. After all, what do you have to lose? Games? They’re doing that already.
Mets have to find out about these young players. They need to make it beyond impossible for Buck Showalter to sit them.
Maybe they surprise you like the Cincinnati Reds are surprising everyone. Likely, they won’t, and the Mets will falter. However, it’s better to falter with young players getting experience than watching this.
It’s time to start selling.
With Omar Narváez set to come off the IL, the New York Mets were going to have to make a move., While it seemed like sending Mark Vientos down was the obvious move since he’s not playing, the Mets instead opted to designate Tomás Nido for assignment.
On the surface, it makes sense. After all, Francisco Álvarez has played so well the Mets were not going to send him back down to Triple-A Syracuse. As such, Narváez is really just taking over Nido’s spot on the roster. However, that is such a grossly over simplistic view it needs to be disregarded outright.
With the catching situation, the first caveat is Álvarez has not caught more than 81 games in a season. That presents a challenge for the Mets to get him through a full season healthy and without mental or physical fatigue. As a result, the team will have to look to buy Álvarez time here or there.
Honestly, that is something the Mets did with Álvarez in Syracuse by having him DH on occasion. It’s at least one of the reasons why the Mets assigned three catchers to Triple-A Syracuse to start the season.
However, for that to work, Buck Showalter has to show a willingness to DH one of his catchers. You can hear him saying you can’t take the risk of a catcher getting injured and having your team lose the DH for the game. More to the point, Showalter very infrequently did it with Matt Wieters. Going through each of his stops, it is something he would do far less than 20 times a season.
Put another way, the odds are Álvarez isn’t going to DH. In fact, so far this season, we have not seen Álvarez DH in any games.
Instead, we are likely going to see Daniel Vogelbach be the primary DH for the Mets. Anytime there is a right-handed pitcher, we should expect to see Vogelbach. That is the case even with Vogelbach hitting Vogelbach is hitting .158/.284/.246 since May 3. On the season, Vogelbach has a 99 wRC+. In essence, he’s a below average hitter at a position where the only job is to hit.
Now, those Vogelbach at-bats could have gone to Álvarez on the days he’s not catching. Again, Álvarez will need time off here and there. Also, we should not expect Showalter to just allow Álvarez to get the vast majority of starts over Narváez.
Remember, this is the same Showalter who continues to bat Álvarez ninth and is still somewhat of the belief Álvarez is a platoon bat. That is to say the left-handed hitting Narváez is going to get his starts and his plate appearances. Showalter’s default is to appease the veterans. That should lead us to see more Narváez than we originally contemplated.
Again, this could have been a good thing because it would permit Álvarez to DH. However, that role isn’t open with Vogelbach still on the team. The odds of Showalter doing it without Nido as a third catcher are diminished. Because of the totality of the circumstances, we see the Mets opted to DH Vogelbach over creating more opportunities to have Álvarez in the lineup.
The danger with calling up Mark Vientos was that Buck Showalter was not going to play him. That is just Showalter’s instincts when it comes to young players. While veterans need not have to produce to keep a roster spot, young players have to go above and beyond to earn playing time.
When Brett Baty was first called up, he was immediately put into a platoon at third base with Eduardo Escobar. What was bizarre about that was Baty was called up to the majors specifically because of Escobar’s struggles. Baty has since played his way out of the platoon.
For two years running, the Mets said when Francisco Álvarez was called up to the majors, he was going to be the primary catcher. However, when Álvarez was called up after the Omar Narváez injury, Showalter first made Álvarez the back-up to Tomás Nido.
Eventually, Nido’s struggles and eye issues forced him to the IL, and now Álvarez is the primary catcher. However, even with Álvarez being the Mets best hitter for over a month now, he still bats ninth.
That brings us back to Vientos.
Vientos was called up because Daniel Vogelbach was not hitting for power, and he was slumping. Tommy Pham was not getting it done either from the DH spot. Mostly, the Mets needed more power in their lineup. Given the power display Vientos was exhibiting in Triple-A coupled with him dramatically cutting down on the strikeouts, the Mets were almost forced to call him up.
When he was first called up, it looked genius. Vientos would homer off of Ryan Thompson to tie the game and spark what would be the Mets best win of the season. Notably, Vientos was just one of four players over the past three seasons to homer off of Thompson’s slider:
Good thing they didn’t call up Mark Vientos sooner.
— Mike Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 18, 2023
Even with the homer, the Mets would not get him back into the lineup. He sat against the right-handed Taj Bradley. However, he would get into the lineup again against the right-handed Cal Quantrill. In that game, Vientos came up with the big base hit off Emmanuel Clase in the 10th to pull the Mets within a run.
For Vientos, that was two games played with two big hits producing an RBI. Despite that, he would not appear in the lineup until two games later. Being fair here, one of the games he missed the first half of a doubleheader. Still, after two big hits, Showalter’s inclination was to sit Vientos for two straight games.
Vientos struggled against Shane Bieber, who was excellent over eight innings. Then again, the Mets lineup only produced two runs on seven hits for the day.
Vientos would start at DH in the first game of the series against the Chicago Cubs with Drew Smyly taking the mound. After going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, Showalter pinch hit Vogelbach for Vientos when the right-handed Jeremiah Estrada relieved Smyly.
When Showalter pinch hit for Vientos, there were runners on first and second with one out. Vogelbach flied out with Francisco Lindor and Alonso moving up. You’ll note when Starling Marte, the Mets worst hitter this season, came to the plate, Showalter did not use Jeff McNeil to pinch hit for him. Instead, he left Marte in to ground out killing the Mets chances of getting back into that game.
With Marcus Stroman taking the hill, Vientos was again on the bench in favor of Vogelbach. Vogelbach was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Again, Vogelbach had the type of performance which led to Vientos getting called up.
Taking all into account, here is where we are. Vientos was impactful the first two games but has not been since. He is struggling with sporadic playing time going 2-for-13 at the plate with a homer and two RBI (65 wRC+).
Vientos is not producing enough at the moment. He has also been taken out the rhythm he was in Triple-A with the sporadic playing time he has had. Put the blame where you want it, but the end result is Vientos not playing frequently and not producing the way he did even when he was first called-up.
Francisco Álvarez entered the 2023 season as the catcher of the future. Before Memorial Day, Álvarez has established himself as the catcher of the present.
He’s been great defensively, which has been a very pleasant surprise. His bat is coming around, and over the past month, he’s been the second best hitting catcher in the game.
Keep in mind, he’s just scratching the surface. He’s 21, and he has a potential superstar career ahead of him. When players like these “arrive,” organizations just hand them the keys.
To some degree, this does raise some questions as to how the New York Mets handle their catching situation. At the moment, they’re all over-blown.
We don’t know if Gary Sánchez will ever hit in the majors again. We also haven’t really seen anything to suggest he can catch at the Major League level.
Sánchez is a back-up catcher, DH, and/or power bat off the bench. In reality he’s the later two and more of a complication for Mark Vientos.
Tomás Nido is a defensive back-up. He’s not starting for anyone or pushing the future of your franchise back to Double-A. He’s needed and important but nowhere near indispensable.
The “complication” is really Omar Narváez. However, much of this is overblown.
First and foremost, Narváez was moved to the 60 day IL. He’s not yet begun a rehab assignment. Although, that should be happening within the next few weeks.
Narváez signed the deal with the Mets knowing Álvarez existed. He signed a deal with a player option for 2024.
Essentially, Narváez signed in hoping he could keep Álvarez in the minors. In the event he couldn’t, he has a built-in escape clause. Put another way, he knew the current situation could well happen, and he was prepared.
That does not mean he will be happy or accept it. That’s his prerogative, and no one can blame him for being upset for losing his job due to injury.
That said, Álvarez is flat out better than him at the moment. Álvarez is going to get a lot better too.
However, Álvarez has never caught more than 81 games in a season. He’s currently 39% of the way towards his career high in games caught.
As a result, we should expect a rookie wall. There will be fatigue. There may be a need to ease up on the amount of games he catches per week.
Obviously, the Mets will want to DH him those days. Again, that’s a complication for Vientos. It will be one for Daniel Vogelbach and Sánchez as well.
It’s also an opportunity to get Narváez into more games. It can keep him happy, and it can allow the Mets to get the most from him and Álvarez.
Of course, for that to be the situation, Narváez has to return from his IL stint. He needs to be productive and force the issue. Put another way, the Mets can kick the can down the road for now.
While that happens, Billy Eppler needs to be active. It’s obvious he needs to have a plan for what to do with the DHs because Álvarez is here to stay and needs a place to play.
The New York Mets are making the right move calling up Gary Sánchez. We know Sánchez has the ability to have a game changing type of bat, and he has the type of power the Mets are trying to add to the roster.
Sánchez had an opt out date fast approaching. It could be a mix of small sample sizes, good luck, and some adjustments, but Sánchez has been raking in Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets should get a look at Sánchez at the Major League level before letting another team benefit from the risk and work the Mets took on signing Sánchez to a minor league deal.
While a smart decision, it comes with serious risk given who is in charge of the Mets.
Buck Showalter has already given Mets fans reason to be leery on his handling with young players. Mark Vientos hit a big home run, and he sat the next day in favor of Tommy Pham and Daniel Vogelbach, two players whose failures necessitated Vientos’ promotion to the majors.
Based on Showalter’s comments, it seems he may be leaning towards a third base platoon between Vientos and Brett Baty. Baty just escaped one with Eduardo Escobar, but because Showalter is reticent to use his young players over his veterans, it appears two players who should be together in the starting lineup are now going to battle for one spot.
That brings us back to Francisco Álvarez.
When Omar Narváez went down with injury, Álvarez was called up to the majors. Prior to this moment, the Mets always said once Álvarez is called up, he is going to be the primary catcher. Instead, Showalter declared Tomás Nido would start over Álvarez.
It literally took Nido developing an eye issue causing his ineffectiveness for Álvarez to get the starting job he should have had. That was the organizational plan, but on his own volition, Showalter abandoned it.
Looking at Álvarez now, he is an excellent defensive catcher. He just hit a huge homer. Over the past 21 games, he has hit four homers, an .807 OPS, and a 128 wRC+. That would make him one of the Mets best hitters over this stretch, so naturally, he can’t bat anything other than ninth in this lineup.
Now, Álvarez sitting in the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays was overblown. He’s a catcher. Day games after night games always means your catcher sits. Showalter didn’t need the nicked up excuse. Álvarez is a catcher. Catchers are always nicked up.
From what we’ve seen, the Mets can’t take Álvarez out of the everyday lineup. If the Mets want to play Sánchez, fine, He can DH. He can catch the second end of the doubleheader or the day game after the night game. That’s the job of the backup catcher which Sánchez should undoubtedly be.
Make no mistake, Álvarez is better than Sánchez. Whereas Sánchez struggles defensively, Álvarez is very good behind the plate. Whereas Sánchez never fulfilled his offensive potential, Álvarez is giving us very real glimpses into what he can be.
In the end, the Mets were smart to call up Sánchez. If utilized properly, he can be a real weapon for the Mets. However, if he usurps Álvarez this will be a disaster, and it will the latest in Showalter trying to put a stop to the Mets youth movement. The Mets simply cannot let that happen.
The New York Mets signed Gary Sánchez to a minor league deal, and they will assign the C/DH to Triple-A Syracuse. Now, the standard rule is there is no such thing as a minor league deal. Those are lottery tickets.
We’ve seen from Baseball Savant, Sánchez annihilates the baseball when he makes contact. He’s actually better behind the plate than advertised. That doesn’t mean he’s good, just better as he has shown the ability to frame well and throw out base runners. He still can’t block the ball.
When you have a Mets team struggling offensively, Sánchez could be a power bat they need. He could share the DH spot with Daniel Vogelbach. He could be a late inning pinch hitter. He could be a third catcher giving the Mets some late inning flexibility.
These are all very good reasons to sign Sánchez. The best part is he could prove to be none of these things leading the Mets to keep him in Syracuse or release him at one point.
The question is whether the Mets can be trusted with Sánchez. Maybe it is reading too much into things, but this appears to be a direct threat to the playing time of Francisco Álvarez‘s playing time.
Things did not start well for Álvarez after the Omar Narváez injury. However, that was partially the result of Buck Showalter‘s insistence on making Álvarez the back-up to Tomás Nido. The red-hot hitting Álvarez went cold at the plate initially.
With Nido’s struggles, the Mets have been all but forced to play Álvarez, and he has responded quite well. He has been elite in terms of pitch framing, and he’s blocking balls well. Over his past 13 games, he is hitting .286/.342/.429. Those are not the numbers we expect in the long run, but it’s productive, and more importantly, it’s a start.
The very last thing the Mets should be doing is taking away Álvarez’s playing time. Certainly, the Mets cannot look to Sánchez to play over Álvarez in the long or short term. Simply put, Álvarez is right now the better defensive and offensive player.
Still, this is a Mets team with a weird affinity towards former players of Showalter with the Baltimore Orioles, and we see Billy Eppler keeping an eye out for his former players with the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels. That’s fine for depth and minor league signings. It is a whole other thing when we see it play out at the Major League level.
On the surface, Sánchez is a GREAT minor league signing. There is talent there, and if you can unlock it, watch out! That said, we should remain skeptical as to the Mets true motives as it has a very direct impact on what they do with Álvarez.
Right now, the New York Mets are 17-18. They’re under .500. As Bill Parcells has been credited with saying, “You are what your record says you are.” Well, that means the Mets are not a good team.
There are caveats we can throw out there, and to be fair, they should be noted.
Losing four starters like that takes a toll on your rotation and team. Of course, that is a complication of having the oldest rotation in the majors. As oft noted this offseason, rotations this old usually do not make it to the postseason.
The bullpen was thrown a bit into chaos with the unexpected season ending injury to Edwin Díaz. To be fair, the Mets were prepared for that with the addition of David Robertson. The problem is no one outside Robertson and Drew Smith have been very good in the bullpen.
Of course, that is a function of the rotation not going deep into games. That is going to tax the bullpen. However, it is also a function of Billy Eppler not building a complete bullpen over the winter. The bullpen needed 1-2 more arms, and he never got them. He also never replaced Trevor Williams as the long man, which only exacerbates the starting pitching being unable to go deep into games.
Maybe the Mets could weather this storm with more offense, but the offense was left unaddressed in the offseason. The world knew the Mets needed more power in the lineup, and their only attempt was the failed Carlos Correa signing. As a result, the Mets went right back to the lineup which failed against the Atlanta Braves in September and then failed again in the NL Wild Card Series.
The Mets did call up Brett Baty, and he has been good. Francisco Álvarez was put on ice after the Omar Narváez injury, and he has started hitting pretty well. Over the past 13 games, he is hitting .286/.342/.429. These are competent bats right now that are not yet lighting the world on fire.
Of course, that also means they’re some of the Mets more productive bats. You wouldn’t know that because Buck Showalter thinks they belong in the bottom half to bottom third of the lineup. Starling Marte and his 68 wRC+ is permanently entrenched in the second spot in the lineup (the most important spot in the lineup) because he’s fast and a veteran.
Mark Canha has a 91 wRC+, and he mostly bats fifth or sixth because, well, he’s a veteran. Therein lies the problem. Showalter is making decisions based upon 1980s decision making and deference to veterans. It’s not about what best suits the team now.
Sure, not all that ails the Mets is going to be solved by lineup construction. However, when your pitching is struggling this much, and there are so many unproductive bats, you need to get as much of a competitive advantage as you possibly can.
Right now, the Mets aren’t. As a result, they’re an under .500 team. They’re just not a good team, and the manager isn’t really doing what is needed to be done to get some wins right now.
Sure, the Mets can turn things around and still make the postseason. That said, they’re seven games behind the Atlanta Braves and tied with the Miami Marlins for second in the division. The more they don’t do anything the more the division is out of reach leaving them back in that dreaded best-of-three series.
Now is the time for the Mets to focus on their productive players. Let the young players play and thrive. If not, the Mets could be in serious trouble.
This is something that has been slowly building even with Showalter and the Mets wanting to push this off to a later date. After all, if Álvarez establishes himself as a starting catcher, what is the team going to do with Tomás Nido, a very valuable back-up defensive catcher.
More than that, there is Omar Narváez. The Mets signed him to be the starting catcher. Certainly, he looked every bit of that to start the season. In spots, you never want to see a player lose a job due to injury. More than that, the Mets invested in Narváez to start.
All of that is well and good. However, at the end of the day, the Mets main responsibility is to put the best players on the field in order to win games. At the moment, it is getting increasingly difficult to deny Álvarez isn’t the Mets best catcher even when everyone is healthy.
We saw it against the Atlanta Braves. The Mets were trailing 3-2 in the sixth on the verge of getting swept by the Braves. That’s when Álvarez hit a go-ahead two RBI double to give the Mets the lead.
Álvarez for the LEAD! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/DEVORWIayR
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 1, 2023
Looking at the Mets, this is a lineup devoid of some real bats. Álvarez is one of the few bats with game changing power and potential. He not only can do what the other Mets catchers can’t do, but he also can do what the majority of this Mets lineup can’t.
To be fair, catching isn’t about the bat. More than the other positions, it is the one where you have to sacrifice offense for the sake of defense. The catcher’s work behind the plate is far more important than his 3-4 at-bats per game.
Well, right now, Álvarez is tied for fourth overall in catcher framing runs. Per Baseball Savant, Álvarez has the fifth best called strike rate in the majors. In terms of catching and framing pitches he’s not only the Mets best catcher, he’s one of the best in the game.
Looking over the stats from Baseball Savant, Álvarez has been solid blocking balls in the dirt being slightly above average. He has been a negative in terms of the running game with slower pop times.
When you break it all down, you see Álvarez is ready. There is no need for him to be in Triple-A or backing anyone up. He is the Mets best catcher, and he needs to be treated as such right now. The organization can deal with the ramifications of that in-season.
That’s what you do when you have a prospect like Álvarez. When it is his time, you step aside and watch him become everything you thought he could be. He is doing that right now. The Mets just can’t let their manager or front office ignore this and lose sight of what’s really important – winning games with your best players on the field.
Back in 2016, after we saw Michael Conforto hit a home run in the World Series against a left-handed pitcher, Terry Collins still did not believe Conforto could hit left-handed pitching. As a result, he stuck Conforto into a platoon.
Now, Conforto was 23 years old, and despite the heroics of Yoenis Céspedes, he was probably the best outfielder on the roster. More than that, Conforto was the present and the future of the Mets. Despite that, Collins said Conforto was in a platoon because, “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win games. This is not a time to develop players.”
It was nonsense at the time he said it, and it remains nonsense now. The goal as a manager is to win games, and it is to get the most out of your players. You win more games in the long run by developing and learning how to get more out of your players.
Fast forward to 2023, and we are seeing Buck Showalter is really no different than Collins.
At the moment, it at least seems like Brett Baty is in a third base platoon with Eduardo Escobar. Now, Escobar did hit left-handed pitching well, but then again, Baty is up here because of Escobar’s failings. Moreover, Escobar could be inserted into the lineup at the DH spot because Daniel Vogelbach cannot hit left-handed pitching at all.
However, it is Baty sitting with Showalter eschewing player development. On that topic, Showalter talked around the fact he has instituted a platoon:
Buck Showalter says that he doesn't see third base as a strict platoon with Brett Baty and Eduardo Escobar right now:
"Want to use both their skills, make sure that I don't close the door on anybody. We're gonna need both of them." pic.twitter.com/kutxXjRWLt
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 26, 2023
Showalter can say whatever he wants, but until Baty plays against left-handed pitching regularly, he’s lying. Again, he’s sacrificing a chance to develop Baty for the sake of playing Escobar and Tommy Pham. That wont’ work for the long term, and we are not talking about future years. it can impact the Mets in August, September, and October.
This isn’t too different than what he is doing with Francisco Álvarez. All offseason and spring, the Mets said when he gets called up to the majors, he is the everyday catcher. Omar Narváez was injured early in the season leading the Mets to call up Álvarez sooner than anticipated.
Well, instead of sticking to the player development plan, Tomás Nido was elevated to starter. He has been that despite not performing offensively or defensively. In fact, in his limited duties, Álvarez has been outperforming Nido.
Sure, it makes sense to keep Nido with Kodai Senga. Asking Álvarez to catch him may be too much, too soon. That said, there is no reason why Álvarez is not regularly catching the other four Mets starters.
Perhaps, it is because Showalter subscribes to the Collins school of thought where you don’t develop young players. Getting players to improve is somehow antithetical to winning in their minds. It’s notable Collins never won anything, and despite all the Manager of the Year Awards, neither has Showalter.
Perhaps, the key to winning is to play your best players. Perhaps, the key to winning is to take your most talented players and get the most out of them. It seems to work for other teams. Perhaps, it could work for the Mets.