Dec 14

How Big A Step Back Did Mets Take Last Summer?

In many circles, the Mets were favorites to reach the World Series in 2017, and by most accounts, injuries derailed those aspirations. They finished manager Terry Collins’ last season as manager 22 games below .500 after scuttling their roster at the deadline.

That seems to be a lot of ground to make up even after adding depth to their bullpen with the free-agent signing of Anthony Swarzak to a two-year deal.

Several reviews of the Mets’ Winter Meetings’ needs mention a set-up reliever, and outfielder/first baseman and second baseman as to what is on GM Sandy Alderson’s shopping list, and cite Addison Reed, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker by name.

The Mets traded all three last summer for a group of relievers that might not make the Opening Day roster.

Surely, if the Mets kept all three, and still added Swarzak, they might still be regarded as a serious contender, even with the health questions surrounding Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes.

The best chance to re-sign a free agent is to make sure he doesn’t leave in the first place, but that requires an ability to spend. Whether they bring back Bruce, all three, or stun us and sign a name player, it will cost money. The bottom line is the Mets have to spend it if they are going to win. That is the idea, isn’t it?

Dec 11

Why Are Mets Even At The Winter Meetings?

Why are the Mets even at the Winter Meetings? We knew all along they wouldn’t land Giancarlo Stanton, but even Adam Lind might be out of their league. The Mets’ plan is to wait for the price to drop for a quality reliever or a second baseman.

So basically, what the Mets’ roster looks like today is pretty much what it will look like on Opening Day.

STANTON: Mystery is over. (Getty)

STANTON: Mystery is over. (Getty)

GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets wanted bullpen help, but Brandon Morrow and Luke Gregerson are now off the board – at $11 million a season which the Mets were never going to pay – and reportedly their first target Bryan Shaw wants three years, which they’ll never give.

The Mets’ plan is to wait out the market and hope somebody falls into their lap.

“We are not going to chase players. There are a lot of guys out there,’’ Alderson said. “We think there are some values out there to the extent the market gets overheated. I don’t think we will jump into the inferno, but we want to improve our bullpen.’’

Yeah, and I want to win the lottery.

Ian Kinsler and Jason Kipnis have been mentioned as possible trade targets, but Alderson said: “Our farm system right now is not brimming with prospects, so in that sense, making a trade isn’t as attractive. On the other hand, making a trade, giving up a minimal number of talented players for maybe someone who can help us on a shorter deal or what have you, there are pluses and minuses to each approach.’’

What that means, is the Mets are willing to trade but only if they don’t have to give up anything.

So, they aren’t going to sign any free agents and won’t make any trades. What they will do is hope for their pitchers to get healthy.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Dec 08

Syndergaard Said He Learned From Last Year

Noah Syndergaard said he learned from last year. The Mets can only hope that’s the case. Syndergaard, speaking at the Mets’ annual holiday party, said he’s been in contact with new manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland, and has been given an off-season throwing program.

Syndergaard was limited to seven starts last season because of a lat injury caused in part because he bulked up while weightlifting without the team’s knowledge during the 2016 off-season.

The Mets’ season effectively ended when Syndergaard partially tore a lat muscle in a game at Washington.

Syndergaard said concentrating more on flexibility this off-season, but is still lifting weights.

“I’m still lifting heavy, but in a [smarter] way,’’ Syndergaard said at the party. “Like last year was not the [smartest] thing. Last year, I did a lot of pull-ups, which is primarily a lat exercise. This year, I have not done one pull-up.’’

However, lifting heavy adds bulk, while lifting lighter loads with more repetitions helps with both strength and flexibility.

Dec 07

Mets Have No Plans To Add Starting Pitching

With the start of the Winter Meetings just days away, there’s been precious little information about the Mets’ pitching. There was an article in The Post about Matt Harvey dating yet another model, but there’s been nothing about his health and ability to pitch in 2018.

DE GROM: One of the few answers. (AP)

DE GROM: One of the few answers. (AP)

What the Mets have said in the wake of Japanese free-agent Shohei Ohtani blowing off them and the Yankees, is they likely won’t add starting pitching but instead focus on relievers, who are routinely less expensive than free agents CC Sabathia or Jason Vargas, or even bringing back R.A. Dickey.

Hell, even if they signed all three that wouldn’t be enough to make the Mets a contender again.

The Mets don’t know about the status of Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. They are contemplating limiting Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to twice through the batting order before turning the game over to the bullpen. That’s at least three innings a game from their bullpen, which is way too many.

The Mets hope hiring a new trainer will keep their pitchers healthy, which sounds like a good idea, but who are they kidding?

It’s going on five years and the Mets’ vaunted starting five hasn’t yet made one uninterrupted turn through the rotation. Yet, GM Sandy Alderson is betting on a new trainer to make that happen.

Dec 04

Why Would Bruce Return?

Published reports indicate the Mets are one of six teams interested in signing Jay Bruce. While Bruce said he’s open to returning to New York and playing first base, that’s probably a negotiating tactic. Why limit the field, which would decrease your value?

BRUCE: Why would he return? (AP)

BRUCE: Why would he return? (AP)

Most recently, Colorado and Seattle, have come into play, teams that offer great cities, but also complementary power in their lineups which would take pressure off Bruce of having to be the entire offense.

Plus, both teams are closer to reaching the playoffs than the Mets. If either, or any team, is willing to pay the $90 million over five years he is seeking – which the Mets are not – why would he return?

In coming back to the Mets, there’s potential of contending if the pitchers hold up physically. As of now, Jacob deGrom and possibly Noah Syndergaard, seem to be the only reliable starters.

The Mets, despite scuttling their offense for a handful of relievers last summer, are still searching for bullpen help. Whoever they sign will also have to play first. While Bruce said he’s willing, don’t forget he complained of back stiffness after a few games last year.

The Mets finished 22 games below .500 in 2017 and enter this season with a new manager and a myriad of questions and concerns, of which Bruce can only address one or two.

Unless the market completely dries up, or the Mets all of a sudden get giddy with their money, there’s little in the way of compelling reasons why Bruce would come back. It can’t be for sentimental reasons as he was booed after the coming here and traded away last year.

The best chance they had of bringing him back was to not trade him in the first place.