I’ve been reading the Aubrey/Maturin Series by Patrick O’Brian so nautical metaphors are making a lot of sense. In the second of twenty one novels ‘Post Captain’ Jack Aubrey is posted into the HMS Polychrest (Also known as the “Carpenter’s Mistake”) a poorly designed and poorly built ship. In the HMS Polychrest I see an apt match for the New York Mets, which probably doesn’t make the bibliophiles too happy.
In the book, aside from the ship being designed to fire Congreve rockets, the boat was made by a disreputable shipyard who did not properly bolt the ship together. Should the ship get into any real fighting… it would simply shake itself apart. Also, the slow sailing vessel was armed with very heavy carronades which could do serious damage to an enemy vessel but the slow sailing Polychrest could never get close enough to use them. Perhaps we could see the reality of the Mets lack of depth or that the offense wasn’t strong enough to take advantage of the Met’s fine starting pitchers, but the point of this post isn’t a review of the faults of the 2012 Mets. The point of this book is how to fix a leaky ship.
After being battered in naval battles and limping along after a long and rough time at sea, a ship needs to be fixed. Sometimes a ship needs only some tar and a few spars that got knocked away in the strong winds but other times the ship needs to be taken out of the water and have the copper bottom scraped off and replaced. So I beg the question to my fellow Met fans… do the Mets need to patch the ship and only wait for the crew to learn to work the Great Guns more efficiently or does the HMS Metropolitan need a more thorough overhaul.
Fixing the Mets with Tar and Rope: In the case of a baseball analogy I think I need to explain what I mean by a “Tar and Rope” fix. What I am saying is that the Mets only need to do enough to keep the ship floating and the team will come round. The “Tar and Rope” fix is barely a fix at all. You wait for the bloated contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana to expire as a captain might await the departure of a blighted first lieutenant. You secure David Wright, Ike Davis, Jon Niese and all the Prospects (Midshipmen) and try to weather the stormy seas of the 2013 season with the promise that by 2014 the future for the Mets will be great and that they’ll be sure to snap up their share of prizes.
There is a lot to be said for “Tar and Rope” and how much it could help the feeble HMS Metropolitan. The 2013 Mets might not be much to look at but trading away R.A. Dickey (and maybe even Johan Santana if he proves healthy) could earn the Mets some quality pieces and by 2014 with Wilmer Flores, Matt Den Dekker, Zack Wheeler and money for Free Agents the Mets of 2014 could actually be pretty decent. Yet… is pretty decent really good enough?
A Total Overhaul: Look for a second at the Washington Nationals. The team has a pitching staff to envy (Strasburg, Gonzalez and Zimmerman) and unless the Mets managed to have Harvey, Wheeler, Niese and others to all succeed to high levels the Nationals are likely to be stronger. With their offense (Harper, Espinosa, Morse, Werth, Desmond, Zimmerman and Rendon) the Nationals have the hitting force to stay in the elite ranks for a considerable amount of time. So… does a “Tar and Rope” fix actually vault the Mets above the Nationals in time to take advantage of the likes of Harvey and Wheeler? Perhaps instead, the Mets need to be hauled out of the water, scraped clean and rebuilt from the beams.
What would that mean? Trading David Wright, R.A. Dickey and almost everyone and anyone else whose maximum value is reached before 2014. Baseball teams, like boats, need to be seasoned, so instead of looking towards 2014, we’d be looking at 2015 or 2016 and Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler leading the charge with Michael Fulmer, Domingo Tapia and Steven Matz behind them. Wilmer Flores and MAYBE Ike Davis lead the offense which looks so vastly different that to guess who we’d have would be nearly impossible.
So, shall the Mets get out the Tar and Ropes and holy stone the ship into some semblance of glory? Or should they pull the sinking ship from the water and fix the carpenters mistake before they meet a destructive cross wind and come apart at the seams? What say you?