Is it time to write off the Mets?

As we approach the beginning of June, it has been an absolute struggle for the Mets thus far. A season that has been plagued by injuries including 3 of their best players in Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jeurys Familia, the team currently stands 11 games out of first place in the NL East and 9 games out of the Wild Card. How would your average Met fan sum up the season so far? They’d probably call it something like a train wreck or a disaster.

The team is currently 7 games under .500 (23-30), and they continue to find ways to lose. The starting pitching, which the Mets were confident would be one of the best in the league, has struggled to give the team length in their starts, and as a result has not been the dominant staff we’ve seen in the past. The bullpen, one of the most used bullpen’s in the league, continues to blow leads, and has been a major let down throughout the season. The one positive has been the offense, which despite Yoenis Cespedes being injured for most of the year, has carried the team through many of their wins. But, the lack of innings given by the starting pitching, and the disastrous bullpen have headlined the Mets’ 30 losses, and right now the team has struggled to find consistency.

At this point, it’s no longer “early” in the season. The month of June is going to be make or break for the Mets. It appears their best all around player Yoenis Cespedes will be back from the DL at sometime early in June, and it’s excepted that Steven Matz and Seth Lugo will also be back soon, giving the team some pitching depth that many thought would be the team’s strength since day 1.

As the Mets continue to fade in the standings, they will need to go on a healthy 8 to 10 game win streak at some point in June if they want to be playing meaningful baseball in the summer. That will have to start with better starting pitching, and help from a bullpen that is one of the worst in baseball. A team that many thought could make a deep postseason run this year has been one of the biggest disappointments this season, and the finger can be pointed in many directions.

So, if someone asked me if I’m writing off the Mets, I’d say not yet. Why? The past 2 seasons, we’ve seen the team play phenomenal baseball in the summer, but they need to be in the playoff conversation, if they want to go on one of those runs. Right now, 9 games back in the Wild Card standings is not going to cut it. But, if they can get back to a .500 or better record by the end of June, I would not deem them sellers come the trade deadline. But, June is a big month for the team to see what direction they’re heading in. It’s also a big month for Terry Collins, who many fans are calling for to be fired. But, if he can get the team hot for the summer like he has the past 2 years, his job will probably be safe. The team simply needs to play better baseball. If not, it’s going to be a long summer for the New York Mets and their fans.

 

 

Final reactions to the 2016 New York Mets

2016 was certainly not as memorable a season for the Mets as opposed to 2015 when they made it to the World Series, but there were a lot of positives to take away from the season. On the other hand, there are also some negatives and major questions marks for the team going into 2017.

Positives

The team has added more young pitching. In the MLB, you can never have too many pitchers. We knew going into the season the Mets had the potential to have 5 young studs. Because of injury, the staff was not what it was supposed to be on paper. But, 2 guys stepped up big time: Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do with them in 2017, but they proved to be very good for the Mets down the stretch. It would have been interesting to see them pitch in the postseason had the Mets made a run. The Mets might have a pitching controversy with all these starting pitchers for 5 spots.

2 infielders that contributed greatly to the team this year were Asdrubel Cabrera and Jose Reyes. Cabrera was signed in the offseason going into 2016, and he proved to be the Mets’ best pure hitter. He came through big down the stretch, and will be back in 2017. If he produces in 2017, it would be huge for the Mets. We also can’t forget the leather he flashed, proving he can still be an every day second basemen. Asdrubel Cabrera will be big for the Mets in 2017, and it will be interesting to see if he plays the way he did this year. Jose Reyes on the other hand was signed in the middle of the season, and gave the Mets some speed and energy that they desperately needed. At this point in his career, he can be a utility player, and can play shortstop, third base and second base. He came up big for them in 2016, and I’d like to see the Mets pick up his option in 2017.

Addison Reed proved to be the best setup man in baseball in 2016. He had a 1.97 ERA and 40 holds. He passed it to Jeurys Familia consistently, and even with Familia’s struggles in the playoffs, I still feel comfortable with them 8/9. Their bullpen was pretty strong this year, but I’d like to see some more depth in 2017. But, with these 2 guys during the regular season, it was lights out, especially with Familia going 51/56 in save opportunities.

Negatives

Yoenis Cespedes’ performance in the Wild Card game against the Giants left a bad taste in Mets fans’ mouths. In 2015, he did not come up big in the playoffs either. But overall, he has been a sensational Met, and basically carried them to the postseason in back to back years. The problem is he seems to disappear in the playoffs. What I also question is did we see Cespedes’ last game as a Met? It seems like he likes it hear, but it looks like he might opt out of his deal. Rightly so, he had a great year, and can probably make more money. If the Mets don’t bring him back which could happen, their offense is going to have major problems.

Arguably the biggest negative of 2015 was the disappointment of the young pitching staff. Steven Matz had season ending surgery. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey did as well. Zach Wheeler had a setback from Tommy John surgery and never returned this season. We saw a lot out of Noah Syndergaard. He proved he can be a big time pitcher, and battled strong in the Wild Card game against Madison Bumgarner. But injuries to pitchers are very worrying to me. This pitching staff was amazing in 2015, especially in the playoffs. There were high expectations for this staff, and they simply could not stay healthy. I’m beginning to wonder if they will deal one of them. With the emergence of Lugo and Gsellman, there’s a lot of starting pitchers for 5 spots, assuming all return in April and the Mets resign Bartolo Colon. I was disappointed that the staff could not stay healthy. Look what they did without most of them down the stretch though. If they are healthy in 2017, this team could be lethal.

Michael Conforto took some major steps back this season. He had a strong April, and then slipped from there, and had a couple cups of coffee in the minor leagues. This is the guy that hit 2 home runs in 1 game in the 2015 World Series. When he first came up to the big leagues, he showed he could hit the ball to the opposite field as a lefty, but it seems he fell in love with the long ball, and is constantly pulling the ball. He’s still young and has a lot of upside, but he simply did not look good this year. He might have some pressure on him with Brandon Nimmo, also a left-handed out fielder showing the Mets some positive signs in 2016.

Finals thoughts and words of encouragement

Mets fans, this game left us all very upset. It would have been great to see the team find their way into the NLDS, but this team still battled all through 2016. The amount of injuries they had were absurd. The Wild Card game is a wash, and they faced arguably the best active postseason pitcher in Madison Bumgarner. Stay positive. This team still has a lot of great, young pitching. If they bring back Cespedes, they could be one of the best in baseball in 2017. If the pitching staff stays healthy, they could make a deep run in 2017. I’ll be honest, 2016 was no 2015, and that’s the reality. However, this team was resilient, and I think they still have a very bright future.

The 2016 New York Mets are very different from the 2015 New York Mets

In 2015, the New York Mets gave fans something to cheer for by winning the National League pennant. The run was remarkable, and was jumpstarted once the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline. By August, the team took a lead in the division and ran away with it, clinching in September.

Mets 2015

Via nj.com

But 2015 had some down moments as well. Like 2016, the Mets offense was brutal. It made moves to acquire Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to get some professional batters in the lineup. With the young pitching staff they had, they knew they needed some hitters and to have a win now mentality. I guarantee if you asked any Met fan on July 20th if they thought the Mets could make the World Series, they would say absolutely not. But, how a few weeks changed everything. The team struggled, but they were only a handful of games out of first place for majority of the season. With the division favorite Nationals struggling in 2015, Yoenis Cespedes led the team to win the division.

When Yoenis Cespedes was inserted in the lineup, everything changed. The team looked like they were having a blast, and why not? They kept winning. With a dominating pitching staff, they were able to make an exciting run in the playoffs.

The story in 2016 is a lot different. The Nationals are currently running away with the division, and the Mets are battling for a wild card spot, only a few games back. The offense is attrocious. The theme so far this year is injuries. Where we stand right now, Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, Matt Harvey, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes are all on the DL. Of their opening day lineup, only Travis d’Arnaud, Neil Walker, and Curtis Granderson are currently on the roster, with Michael Conforto in the minors. It has been too much for the team to handle, and this resulted in them getting swept at home by the last place Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Mets are hitting .236 as a team according to espn.com and are hitting in the low .200s with runners in scoring position, and the reality is the only way they score runs is via the home run. They tried to make 2016 just like 2015 by acquiring big time power hitter Jay Bruce at the trade deadline. Bruce came to the team and has struggled with the Mets, hitting .171 according to espn.com. The Mets hoped he could be the 2016 Yoenis Cespedes, but just the opposite has happened thus far.

With a little less than 60 games remaining, the 57-57 Mets need to make their run now. It looks like this year could be a wash, however the team just needs to go on a little winning streak. They have not won back to back games since early July, yet they are only 3 games out of the 2nd wild card. The team is built for the postseason with stud young pitchers Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz. If the offense could contribute just a little and get healthy, then this team could make a late run. The clock is ticking, and Mets fans are hungry.

According to fox sports here was the 2015 Mets lineup for game 1 of the World Series.

1. Curtis Granderson, RF
2. David Wright, 3B
3. Daniel Murphy, 2B
4. Yoenis Cespedes, CF
5. Lucas Duda, 1B
6. Travis d’Arnaud, C
7. Michael Conforto, LF
8. Wilmer Flores, SS
9. Kelly Johnson, DH

According to espn.com, here is the Mets lineup on August 12th, 2016. A very different lineup.

1. Curtis Granderson, LF
2. T.J. Rivera, 3B
3. Neil Walker, 2B
4. Jay Bruce, RF
5. James Loney, 1B
6. Travis d’Arnaud, C
7. Alejandro De Aza, CF
8. Matt Reynolds, SS
9. Logan Verrett, P

 

The 2015 New York Mets: A season to remember

On Sunday, November 1st, who would’ve thought that the New York Mets would suffer a heartbreaking series loss in the World Series? I’ll tell you what, not me. We could be gearing up for a game 6 in Kansas City tonight, but the reality is we are not, the season’s over. The team could easily be up 3 games to 1 in the series, blowing 1 lead in the 8th, and 2 leads in the 9th. Today it feels awful, but this season is great for the future of the Mets.

I could sit here and list free agents the Mets should pick up in preparation of another World Series run, but I have no clue what the front office wants to do. What I can tell you is fairly obvious. The pitching staff. Many knew this pitching staff had potential. What can also excite Mets fans are the experience gained by Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Noah Syndergaard. Matt Harvey’s game 5 World Series start proved that this guy is the real deal. Through all the ups and downs, he came out and up until the 9th, shut down a very pesky Kansas City Royals lineup. Unfortunately, he did not finish the job, but that start can get many Mets fans excited. Maybe not right now, still trying to swallow a tough series loss, but this pitching staff gained so much experience from this playoff run.

The team went from not making the playoffs since 2006 to winning the National League pennant. Now, how can they get back there next year? Mets fans may be split about this, but they have to bring back Daniel Murphy. Fans will be haunted with his error in the 8th inning of game 4, but errors happen. This guy went on a tear in the post season, showing he wants to win. Until the World Series, he was unstoppable. Every time he batted, it seemed like he hit a home run. Yes he does have a shaky glove, but he gives them that hitter in the lineup that has the ability to get on base. It depends on what kind of contract he is looking for, but he would be a very important piece to the team in 2016. Plus, he can fill in for David Wright, because it does not seem like Wright will be able to play in 140 plus games. I’d love for the Mets to bring this guy back for the right price, just to give the lineup more stability. There is uncertainty on whether the Mets will resign Yoenis Cespedes, so it’s tough to see who the team will rely on to get their big hits.

Yes no one talks about the 1973 and 2000 Mets, but this season gives fans a feel that the team is capable of winning important games in the future. The thought of the collapses in 2007 and 2008 will hopefully slowly drift away. What worries me is that anything short of winning the World Series next year is a lost season. The team showed they can make a late October run, but how can they bounce back next season?

So my message to Mets fans: enjoy football, basketball, and hockey season (if you like these sports), and lets hope the team can continue to rally around this pitching staff. For the 2016 season, I expect nothing less then the team lifting that World Series trophy.This fall is a critical period in the Mets season, to keep the team as close to the same as last year. They also can not go crazy spending money, they may need it on these soon to be franchise pitchers. We have something special here in New York, lets keep it.

Picture Via http://www.ibtimes.com

-MN