Jul 26

Mets Have To Believe Cespedes’ Days Are Over

Sure, the Mets caught a bad break in losing Yoenis Cespedes for the rest of this season and probably up to August of next year. However, the one thing the Mets must resist is the notation to think ”he’ll come back to superstar form in 2020.”

CESPEDES: His days with Mets are over. (AP)

CESPEDES: His days with Mets are over. (AP)

They have to avoid that line of thought because, after all, these are the Mets we’re talking about, so everything breaking right usually doesn’t happen. The best position for the Mets is to learn from their David Wright experience and just move on.

They have to believe they got the best of Cespedes, but with that means they have to accept the worse. They have to believe Cespedes is gone forever, and everything they might get from him in the future is a bonus.

But, they can’t believe they never collect on that bonus.

Assistant general manager John Ricco said the Mets won’t alter their short-term plans to accommodate losing Cespedes, and they shouldn’t change their long-term plans, either.

”Certainly, when you don’t have one of your best players on the field, you have to look at your team differently,” Ricco said, when asked if Cespedes’ surgery changes the Mets’ long-term strategy. ”At this point, we just found this information out in the last day or so. I think it’s a little bit too quick to speculate as to how we’re going to change our plan moving forward.”

He’s right on that. Trading somebody like Jacob deGrom for a power bat in the outfield isn’t the prudent move now, because where the Mets are situated today, losing a solid arm in exchange for a handful of home runs won’t make them any better. And certainly, it won’t elevate them to contender status.

Even with a healthy and productive Cespedes, the Mets aren’t a contender. The Mets shouldn’t concentrate on acquiring a Cespedes-type bat until they do reach contending status.

And, it isn’t imminent.

Currently, the Mets’ outfield consists of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Jose Bautista. When he returns, throw Jay Bruce into that mix. This isn’t to say the Mets don’t need a healthy and productive Cespedes, but they can’t count on that now.

Or ever again.

Jul 08

Even If De Grom Stays, Mets Have Plenty Of Issues

Lifeless. That’s pretty much the only way to describe what’s going on with the Mets, now 16 games below .500.  The count is now 14 consecutive series the Mets haven’t won after today’s 9-0 drubbing at the hands of Tampa Bay.

That’s eight times they’ve been shutout this lost season.

And yet, the Mets – who will be sellers at the trade deadline – insist if they keep Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard they will be competitive next season. Of course, that’s contingent on Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce returning healthy and productive.

NIMMO:  A bright spot in lost season.  (Getty)

NIMMO: A bright spot in a  lost season. (Getty)

Let’s assume that happens, and they also keep Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz, who continue to develop, they still have monumental holes, especially if they deal Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Here’s how they’ll starting nine will look like:

CATCHER: Devin Mesaroco has been one of the few positives this season since coming over from Cincinnati in the Matt Harvey trade. Kevin Plawecki has played well as a reserve, but he’s never going to be a full-time starter. Ditto for Travis d’Arnaud, who is again on the disabled list.

FIRST BASE: What does it say about Dominic Smith that he started today in left field? Since Adrian Gonzalez left, Wilmer Flores has been getting more playing time, but this is an opportunity that has come too late.

SECOND BASE: They are trying to move Cabrera, who should have value to a contender. If they are successful, they can play Flores at second. Of course, they are also looking to move Flores, which shouldn’t result in Tear Gate II.

SHORTSTOP: Do you remember all the angst when they didn’t bring up Amed Rosario? Of course, you do. He’s playing, but for all his defensive prowess he hasn’t shown much. And, many of the mistakes are mental which no team should tolerate. Rosario is getting time, but isn’t making the most of it, either in the field or at the plate. Here’s a guy with incredible speed, but you rarely see his draw walks and attempt to steal. For a team that lacks offense, that’s a huge mistake. Rosario needs to improve his plate discipline and learn to hit the ball on the ground. He’s shown nothing that leads me to believe he’s a long-time answer.

THIRD BASE: Todd Frazier was a good idea for a contender, but the Mets are far from that label. He’s been hurt and having a miserable season. What’s worse, is he’s signed for next year, too. Maybe they can get something for Frazier, if not they can always try again in 2019.

LEFT FIELD: Currently, the Mets have no idea when Cespedes will come off the disabled list. He’s starting to run in Florida, but we’ve been down that road before. There are times when I start to think the Mets might see David Wright again before Cespedes. There’s no telling how Cespedes will respond physically once he comes back. But, he has two more years after this year, and that’s not encouraging. Smith started in left today, but that’s no answer. Michael Conforto can play left, but started in right to give Jose Bautista got the day off.

CENTER FIELD: Brandon Nimmo won the job after Cespedes was injured and has been one of the Mets most pleasant surprises. Next season will be interesting if Cespedes and Bruce are back healthy, and Conforto and Nimmo are also there. Somebody will have to go, and it won’t be Cespedes.

RIGHT FIELD: Bruce is on the disabled list with a strained hip flexor, and has two more years on his contract. The Mets could try to trade him again, but will Bruce show anything in the next three weeks? It’s doubtful. Bautista has played well enough to open the eyes of a contender, but that doesn’t do anything to help next year’s logjam.

ROTATION: DeGrom and Syndergaard aren’t going anywhere any time soon. But, if the Mets are in similar straits next year, perhaps we’ll hear trade talks again. Then, maybe the Mets will not resist. The problem is the Mets are under the illusion they can compete next year. The sooner they get a realistic appraisal of their team the better off they’ll be. The last thing they need is to hold on to deGrom and Syndergaard for the next three years and don’t get any better. If that happens, all their chips will be gone.

BULLPEN: Jeurys Familia could be the first to be traded, which puts the Mets in the position to look for a closer in 2019. The obvious first choice would be AJ Ramos, who is on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. The next option could be to convert Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo or Wheeler into that role. Any of the other relievers you can have.

MANAGER: By rights, Mickey Callaway should come back. Callaway has a lot to learn, but it’s not fair to fire a manager after one year. The problems the Mets are having has little to do with Callaway’s in-game decisions. It’s because former GM Sandy Alderson did not give him enough talent, and he, along with John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya over-estimated how good their team is. It will be interesting how much leeway Jeff Wilpon gives the trio in making trades. If Wilpon goes outside the organization for a general manager it stands to reason he’ll want to hire his own manager.

Jun 19

Alderson In No-Win Situation

Jacob deGrom isn’t my all-time favorite Met, but he’s close. I don’t want the Mets to trade him, but if GM Sandy Alderson pulls the trigger on a deal, I would understand the reasoning. I just don’t have faith he’d get it right. I don’t have faith he’d get it right with Noah Syndergaard, either.

ALDERSON: In no win situation. (AP)

ALDERSON: In no-win situation. (AP)

There’s no doubt the Mets could get something substantial for either one, but just how much? Both are highly regarded, but to put either one – or both – on the block is sending a signal the Mets won’t be competitive for at least four years.

The Mets are an old team, and by that time it is likely Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Jeurys Familia, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes and probably the bullpen would be gone. Under the Alderson regime, the bullpen turns over nearly every year.

And although Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have pitched well over the path month, that’s such a small sample size to assume they become certified aces over the next four years.

The present roster has only two prospects – Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo – I’m confident will pan out. I don’t include Amed Rosario, but there’s always hope.

Given that, if Alderson keeps both deGrom and Syndergaard, there’s little to believe the Mets will have the necessary pieces to build a contender. With their history, it’s safe to believe they will not do any significant spending, and their farm system is barren, so they won’t build that way, either.

The last three games, including deGrom’s gem last night, have been fun to watch, but it’s not enough to think they’ve turned the corner, as even the 1962 Mets won three in a row.

So, whether or not deGrom is traded, will it even matter?

Jun 17

The Mets Rally In Ninth To Beat D-Backs Showing They Have A Pulse

It’s premature to suggest the Mets turned things around, but it isn’t going out on a limb to say that with their last two games in Arizona this is best they have felt about themselves since late April.

On Saturday, Steven Matz pitched brilliantly with his fourth quality start in his last five games. He was helped by Michael Conforto, who drove in four runs with a three-run homer and double, in a 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

NIMMO: Delivers again. (SNY)

NIMMO: Delivers again. (SNY)

Today, Zack Wheeler continued his strong pitching, and the offense scored four runs after two outs in the ninth on Brandon Nimmo’s three-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera’s solo drive.

“It’s been a while,” Nimmo said. “And so for us to get that second win in a row, on a big hit, that’s really good for our positivity going forward, our momentum going forward. Like I said, I don’t know what it means for our future. I hope this team keeps fighting.”

Outside of Nimmo’s homer, the Mets’ biggest hit was a bunt single by Jose Reyes, who then scored on Jose Bautista’s double.

“I just put it down and ran, man,” said Reyes. “It means a lot, because I feel like I contributed today. I contributed to the ballclub. I contributed to this win.”

Unbelievably, Nimmo followed with his homer.

“It felt like a weight had been lifted off us,” said Nimmo, who has arguably been the Mets’ best player this season.

Wheeler certainly thinks so, saying: “It’s a fresh breath of air. We needed that hit and he came through for us at the right time. He’s becoming a very good player for us.”

With the two victories, the Mets are now eight games under .500 as they travel to Colorado to face the Rockies.

Denver has always been a tough place for the Mets to play, but there have been a lot of things trending up for them, notably Nimmo and Conforto, the latter is showing breakout signs.

The starting pitching with Wheeler, Matz and Jacob deGrom has been strong, and the bullpen has been effective over the past two games.

Yeah, it’s been only two games, but streaks start with the smallest steps.

Jun 13

Mets Can’t Apologize Enough To DeGrom

I suppose things could get worse for the New York Mets, but that would really be frightening, now wouldn’t it? But, it is pretty bad when the players start apologizing to the starting pitcher, as Todd Frazier did to Jacob deGrom this afternoon.

The Mets lost for the tenth time in 11 games, 2-0 to Atlanta, and are now 2-8 in deGrom’s last ten starts despite him having a 0.87 ERA in that span.

DE GROM: Wasting his starts. (AP)

DE GROM: Wasting his starts. (AP)

“I told [deGrom] after the game: ‘Dude, I am sorry,’ ” Todd Frazier said. “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why we’re not producing for him.”

In those 11 games, the Mets have scored two or fewer times nine times. Today, as deGrom cruised through the Braves, so did Atlanta pitcher Mike Soroka, who didn’t give up a hit until the seventh inning. The Mets’ second hit came in the ninth, Brandon Nimmo’s double with two outs in the ninth.

Then, with runners on second and third, Jay Bruce popped out swinging on the first pitch.

“We talk about trying too hard,” Frazier said. “Maybe we try too hard when he’s pitching, but a guy throws like that, he works fast, he was just dominant. Of course, he is going to give up one run and everybody is human so, for us not to put up any runs for him again, I told him, ‘I’m sorry.’ I didn’t know what else to tell him.”

DeGrom, as he usually does, said all the right things and wouldn’t point the finger at his offense.

“Nobody is happy that we’re losing,” deGrom said. “You have got to score runs to win and we haven’t been doing that, so nobody is happy with what’s going on.”

DeGrom threw only 86 pitches, and although he said he could have pitched longer, didn’t second-guess manager Mickey Callaway’s decision to pull him.

“I think it was just being smart and not trying to do too much,’’ said deGrom.

Meanwhile, the offense isn’t doing anything.

“We’ve wasted his starts,”  Bruce said.