This 2017 Mets season has been in a tailspin since mid-April, and while I have tried hard to stay away from posting the misery, I can’t ignore it forever, but for health purposes, I tried my best. Coming off a World Series appearance and two straight post season births, this season was supposed to be full of potential, but it was nothing more than yet another season full of heartache and disappointment and we haven’t even hit September yet.
The Mets were taking back New York, or that was all the talk pre Judge-ment. The Baby Bombers quickly silenced all that nonsense and the focus moved to how to keep the Mets healthy. Yet injuries continued to pile up, and quickly, and before you knew it the Mets were back double digits not only in the divison, but also in the Wild Card race, and all plans shifted to retooling (not rebuilding) for the 2018 season.
The starting pitching potential is certainly still there. Will Harvey ever be the Dark Knight again is anyone’s guess, but I personally doubt it. Harvey getting healthy, maturing and being a reliable starter is still a realistic possibility and the best the Mets should hope for at this point. Syndergaard hopefully learned from his beefy mistake, and Matz, when healthy, needs to get out of his own way. He states he is healthy, so it is clearly mental and that is a much larger challenge than any physical ailments. Then we have deGrom. Well, thank jebus for deGrom. He just keeps his mouth shut, and ego in check, and pitches like an ace, just like he has for the last 3 seasons.
The bullpen, while losing Reed, made a nice pickup in Ramos to help close and eventually set up for a still recovering Familia. Add those two along with Blevins, and now the Mets have a nice trio to close out games in place already for next season. With Sewald coming into his own and hopefully one or two of the many relief prospects received in their
fire sale re-tooling proving worth anything, the bridge should be closed to the back end of the bullpen and money can hopefully be saved (don’t forget the Wilpons are cheap) for more urgent needs moving forward.
Two of those needs should be filled by young phenoms in Rosario and Smith. While they both have shown flashes, they also have shown holes that this experience will only help to address before the start of the 2018 season (remember how overmatched Judge appeared down the stretch last season). Add those two to Conforto and Cespedes and the offense should certainly be formidable, regardless of who else is (or isn’t) added.
That being said, assuming Wright remains out and the Mets continue to collect insurance on his shrinking deal, Alderson needs to re-invest this year’s savings and all the money saved on Wright and expired contracts into finding an everyday catcher and center fielder. While Lagares is a defensive whiz, both he and Nimmo are best served in a reserve role, later in games. Nimmo has shown a knack for pinch hitting and Lagares is just poetry in motion with a glove on his hand. With the pitching potential the Mets possess, a focus needs to be placed on defense up the middle, and I can’t remember the last time the Mets had that locked down.
While I would love the Mets to go out and sign a Moustakas to take over third base, that money would be much better invested in another Royal, Lorenzo Cain, to man center and I think it is about time Flores was given his due and handed a starting spot at either third or second. His defense is still questionable, but if given an everyday role, batting .280 with 25 homeruns should easily be attainable as he has progressed offensively each season at this level.
Lastly, the Mets need to make a move at manager. Collins, who’s contract is up at the end of this season, turned out to be the perfect fit to lead the Alderson regime through the rebuild, but he often looks a step slow in making decisions and clearly lets the inmates run the asylum at times, which is quite frankly becoming tired news. They need a new (younger) manage to breathe some life into this group and to be able to grow with the young talent. While I doubt either of these guys will be seriously considered for varying reasons, my vote would be for either Wright or Granderson to take over the managerial duties. They both possess strong leadership skills, demand respect and have savvy baseball minds to be able to adjust to a role on the other side of the dirt. I don’t know if either are quite ready to hang up the cleats, but both would make great leaders for a young team full of talent and potential.
While the off-season is still some time away, as Alderson has shown by the deals he continues to make, the time to start thinking about 2018, unfortunately, is now and the only positive that could come out of the rest of this season is getting the young guys real experience, while allowing some of the veterans to work themselves back into shape as they return from their injuries.
Until next time…