We’ve heard it already this spring and we’ll hear it again as the season rapidly approaches: This season is World Series or bust for the Mets. Like the rest of you, I’d like to see the Mets return to the World Series, and would love to see them win.
But, for a team that has reached the pinnacle of its sport only five times since 1962, to say the success of the season is dependent on winning the World Series – something they’ve done only twice – is a bit of a reach.
It is because so much can happen between now and the end of October. And, we’ve already seen in spring training how fragile things can be with injuries, slumps, bad luck and a multitude of other variables over the course of six months can change things very quickly.
For so many years before last season, their summers were marred with injuries, poor play and disappointment. However, there was a magical element to 2015, and it wouldn’t be natural to hope for the next step, which as Bob Murphy once said, “to win the damn thing.”
But, what if they don’t?
I’ve seen so many things happen that derailed playoff dreams, and if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. It would be disappointing, for sure. But, it would only be a bust for me if they don’t play well. You can’t do anything about injuries, but they can control so many other things.
Depending on the circumstances, if it doesn’t happen that won’t make the season a bust.
Noah Syndergaard said he’s on point so far this spring because he pitched through the playoffs and World Series. Well, if that’s the case then the optimum thing would be for the Mets to do it again this year.
SYNDERGAARD: Having great spring. (Getty)
“Last year, the amount of innings I threw over my max, I felt like it helped quite a bit in terms of not losing that muscle memory over the offseason,” Syndergaard told reporters after Sunday’s outing against Boston in which he struck out five and walked none in five innings. “Once I got on the mound this offseason, it was right back where I left off.”
Syndergaard said he was consistent with his mechanics which makes him as happy as Steven Matz was unhappy before.
“I was able to locate all of my pitches for strikes, throw breaking pitches in uncomfortable counts. So, all in all, I’m very pleased,” Syndergaard said. “Overall, I’m very pleased. I kind of shocked myself a little bit with how consistent I’ve been this entire spring training. I’m looking forward to transferring it into the season.”
Syndergaard said he must get quicker to the plate in his delivery, which should help regarding cutting down on the number of stolen bases against him (15 successful in 16 attempts last year).
That should make Travis d’Arnaud happy.
Mets manager Terry Collins is reportedly reluctant to play Yoenis Cespedes anywhere in the outfield other than centerfield, to which I ask: Why? Frankly, after watching Cespedes in last year’s World Series, I wonder if he’s not overmatched playing centerfield.
GRANDERSON: Maybe better off in center. (Getty)
From left to right, the current Mets’ outfield plan is Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Curtis Granderson, with 2014 Gold Glove Award winner Juan Lagares coming off the bench. Assuming he’s healthy, Lagares is the Mets’ best defensive outfielder, but the other three are superior at the plate.
On days when Lagares does play, it should be in center for the simple reason that with the Mets’ premium on pitching they should field their best defensive alignment whenever possible. Given that, I wonder why Granderson isn’t being considered in center with Cespedes in right (the best outfield arm is usually in right and that’s Cespedes).
I’m wondering if the Mets, in pursuing Cespedes in the outfield, didn’t promise him center field. Granderson can play center field, and probably just as well as Cespedes.
If the idea is to give yourself the best chance to win and given that, I’m not convinced Cespedes in center is the right decision.
Just because the Mets went to the World Series last season it doesn’t mean they are done with their penny-pinching ways. Yes, Tuesday’s decision to place shortstop Ruben Tejada on waivers was all about saving money.
It can’t be about anything else when you consider if he’s claimed on waivers by Thursday the Mets will save themselves the $3 million owed him for the 2016 season. If he’s not claimed the Mets can cut him and only pay him $500,000.
TEJADA: Tejada waived. (Getty)
Never mind starting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera might begin the season on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his left knee and the other reserve infielder, could be needed to back up David Wright at third and Lucas Duda at first.
Once criticized for not always being in good shape when he reported to spring training, Tejada has worked exceedingly hard to recover from his fractured right leg sustained by Chase Utley‘s hard takeout slide in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Dodgers.He’s played very well,” manager Terry Collins said. “He came
“He’s played very well,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “He came in [camp] in great shape and he’s played very well. He’s swung the bat good. We’ll just wait to see what’s going on.” It
It isn’t all that hard to figure out. If not claimed by Thursday, the Mets will undoubtedly cut him and save themselves $2.5 million. Of course, they could attempt to trade him – St. Louis and the Dodgers could use a shortstop – but why should they give up a prospect or player when they conceivably sign him as a free agent if they are patient?
The Mets continue to handle David Wright with kid gloves, which is the only way to go. Wright, who has yet to play in an exhibition game this spring, singled in five at-bats in a minor-league intrasquad game today. Wright didn’t play in the field.
As of now, the plan is to get Wright into a dozen exhibition games, and there’s no idea as to how many games he’ll play this season.
Wright will play in minor league games Tuesday and Thursday, andÂ possibly getting in a regular season game for the first time on Friday.
“You don’t know what to expect your first time taking at-bats as far as timing and stuff, and that was really secondary to going out there, simulating some at-bats in a game-like situation,” Wright told TCPalm.com. “Taking some swings, trying to run to first base, run the bases a little bit – I thought it went great. Obviously, the biggest thing now is try to get some timing, but I feel mechanically health-wise, I thought it worked out great. Now it’s just a matter of doing it over and over again.”
Wright does up to 90 minutes of stretching and exercising prior to each game, so even if he’s not playing his body is taking a toll.
So, even if you don’t notice Wright’s name in a box score, understand he’s still working and his body is being taxed. Hopefully, it will pay off.