When a team is eight games below .500 and 12 games behind, there’s plenty of blame to go around. The following didn’t perform to expectations in the first half:
Noah Syndergaard: Reportedly showed up to spring training muscle-bound by 17 pounds because he erroneously believed it would help him last longer in games. The watershed moment for the Mets in the first half was when Syndergaard refused to take an MRI and subsequently partially tore his lat muscle pitching against Washington in late April. He has been on the disabled list since and is still at least two weeks from throwing. Reportedly, pitching coach Dan Warthen is considering initially using him in relief.
Matt Harvey: Went on the DL with a stress injury to his scapula. Could this be because he was overthrowing trying to build up his velocity? In spring training Warthen estimated Harvey wouldn’t be at full strength until late May or early June. Given that, he shouldn’t have been on the Opening Day roster. Harvey wasn’t pitching well, evidenced by a 5.25 ERA when he went on the DL. Compounding Harvey’s poor season was when he was suspended for a game because of an unexcused absence from a game prior to a start in May.
Yoenis Cespedes: He missed six weeks with a hamstring injury, likely caused by the Mets not initially putting him on the DL. He’s back but entered the All-Star break with no extrra-base hits in 11 straight games. Manager Terry Collins said Cespedes was playing at 75 percent.
Jose Reyes: Was hitting under .200 for much of the first half, but raised his average to .215 over the last three weeks. Reyes’ game is based on speed, but he lost his job based on a .284 on-base percentage. He has little trade value and certainly won’t be re-signed.
Asdrubal Cabrera: Has twice been on the disabled list. His range is reduced which prompted his move from shortstop to second base. He has been hitting better since demanding to be traded. Both him and Reyes will be expendable once Amed Rosario is brought up.
The bullpen: Where to begin? Familia’s suspension didn’t help. Then he had a blood clot in his shoulder that required surgery. There’s no timetable for his return, but if the Mets believe they’ll make a run they can’t afford to mess with Addison Reed in the closer role. … Fernando Salas, Neil Ramirez and Josh Edgin haven’t done the job. … Paul Sewald has run hot-and-cold.
Sandy Alderson: Is largely responsible for the decline in the pitching. He never constructed a productive bullpen, which was essential considering five starters were coming off surgery and would pitch deep into games. Alderson also made mistakes with Syndergaard and Harvey. He should have insisted Syndergaard take the MRI and told him he wouldn’t pitch until he had done so. Regarding Harvey, when Warthen said it would take a couple of months before he was full strength, Alderson never should have had him on the Opening Day roster. … Alderson also made a mistake by not putting Cespedes on the DL when he was initially injured.