What Surprise Does May Hold For The 2013 Mets?

I’m not a huge proponent of invoking precedent because every situation is different… but Mets teams that wander through [May] gaining no traction have been known to Do Something.

• When attendance fell through the floor in May 1983, the Mets called up Darryl Strawberry to sweeten a dour 6-15 proposition.

• When masses failed to materialize in May 1998, despite a reasonably capable 23-20 product, they thought big and netted Mike Piazza.

• The Mets of May 1981, wallowing at a truly miserable 13-26 mark, traded promising young Jeff Reardon for proven if slightly shopworn Ellis Valentine.

• The Mets of May 1990 scuffled to 20-22 and fired Davey Johnson.

• The Mets of May 1977 sank to 15-30 and dismissed Joe Frazier.

• The Mets of May 1993, doomed at 13-25, bid Jeff Torborg adieu.

– Greg Prince Faith And Fear In Flushing, April 30, 2013.

Greg Prince writes the definitive blog for Met fans of a more literary – as opposed to sabermetric — bent. He has a fantastic turn of phrase, an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Met and an unrivaled memory. So when he cites the precedents above, it alerts your intrepid columnist that something might be up; we can only hope, seeing as the present is pretty bleak. One only needs look at the follies that occurred Sunday afternoon at Turner Field (5/5). That box score, of course is deceiving, as all the Mets miscues – fly balls not reached in the outfield, pitches squirted between catchers’ legs, ground balls cuffed around at third base – all became safeties and clean plays in the hands of the Atlantan official scorers. In any case, however you call it, the Mets are pretty bad, bailed out only by the fact that the Miami Marlins are a major league team in name only and the Phillies – the modern day Wheeze Kids – are showing their age. So, given the turn of calendar page, let’s see if Sandy Alderson follows precedent after all.

We know we won’t see Travis d’Arnaud until August or September at the absolute earliest, but there are still other opportunities for May to shine:

— Will Zack Wheeler make his long-awaited debut, on the heels of a budding string of strong AAA outings?

— Will Rafael Montero make a gargantuan leap from AA – where he appears a man among boys right now – and find himself on the Citi Field mound before the month is out?

— Will Alderson pull a rabbit out of his hat – The Magic Is Back! – package a passel of young talent and come away with a legitimate outfielder or two? Might Giancarlo Stanton be heading north in May?

— Will Terry Collins finish the month in the manager’s office or will his own flubs – intentional walks when the count is favorable to his own pitcher, letting his closer rot on the bench while a lesser hurler gives away a perfectly satisfactory win, general bullpen mismanagement, a surfeit of sacrifice bunts – ultimately doom his current efforts and legacy?

Precedent can be a dangerous thing, too, of course. Ellis Valentine was one of the Mets’ bigger “bust” acquisitions. The execrable Dallas Green was scant improvement over Torborg and Davey Legend was replaced by rabbit-eared Bud Harrelson. The Torre hire was inspired, but turned out to be a lateral move, at best. In any case, you can sort of tell something is percolating.

It’s May.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

16 comments for “What Surprise Does May Hold For The 2013 Mets?

  1. May 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I think we are all pretty much in agreement that Collins is not the future manager for the Mets. As for trading for Stanton I would pass on that. The Mets will be able to sign a quality free agent next season for the outfield. Preferably someone to play center field and lead off. After getting ahead on a batter with a 1 and 2 count if my manager tells me to intentionally walk the batter I would just flip him the ball. It’s time to move on.

    • May 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Going through Sunday’s box scores where every team played, there were 11 leadoff center fielders – a number which surprised me because I didn’t think it was going to be that high. Regardless, only three of them are eligible for free agency at the end of 2013 — Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Andres Torres.

      I’m guessing we won’t go down the Andres Torres path again…

  2. Name
    May 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Will the Mets finally get some consistency in their schedule and not have a postponement or scheduled day off every other day?

    Who ever was a series wrapped around a pair of off days?(other than near the all-star break)

  3. Metsense
    May 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    May 1990, Davey Johnson, having never finished below 2nd place and winning 2 divisions and one World Series and having a .537 winning percentage as his worst season, (with a career .588 pct) gets fired when he finally slips below .500. 23 years later Davey is still winning. One of the key reasons why this franchise has problems.

    • Name
      May 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Good Managers don’t make winning players. Winning players make good managers.

  4. May 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Ellsbury is represented by Boras so that’s not an option. I think the Mets and Angels are a better fit. The Angels have 3 center fielders in their starting outfield while we have none. So trade Davis, Duda, Flores and a pitcher for Bourjos and Pujois. Insane? Maybe? But I don’t think Moreno is too happy with the teams underachieving or his GM.

    • May 7, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      Sorry. Meant to say Moreno is NOT happy with the team.

    • Name
      May 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

      I wouldn’t want Pujols even if we didn’t have to give up a player.

  5. AJ
    May 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Not for nothin’ but… the Mets are playing in their 51st season. The list of Mets teams that have “wandered through May gaining no traction” and then did “something” has 6 examples on it. That would be 6 times in the 50 previous years. Under those circumstances I wouldn’t be “a huge proponent of invoking precedent” either.

    Not to mention the fact that the Mets are currently right about where any reasonable observer would have expected them to be at this point in the season – a team a few games south of .500. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but that’s pretty much what we can expect this year. There will be highs and lows and when the end of September rolls around the Metsies will be around .500, and probably a few games under. My bet is that Terry Collins holds onto his job this year, but doesn’t get a new contract. There will be call-ups of hopeful future stars, but other than maintaining a faint pulse in the comatose fan base these additions won’t make a big difference this season. Maybe next year…

    You might think I’m being pessimistic, but I’m in my 47th year of following this team. It’s called “realism”. Embrace it and be saved!

  6. May 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I’m in my 44th year following the Mets. I do understand! We can hope for the best but reality eventually seeps in. With only 2 quality starters in the starting rotation I can’t see the Mets coming close to .500. Collins doesn’t have a clue as to how to manage a bullpen, So that being said who is going to manage this team next season and bring a winning attitude along with him? Mike Scioscia? We’ll see.

    • May 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Hiring Scioscia would be pretty ironic, considering his homer sent the club into a 10-year tailspin, don’t you think?

  7. Jerry Grote
    May 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    OK … we’re not getting a “quality free agent next year” since that animal doesn’t exist. And other than some guys in the lower ranges of the minor leagues, you’ve got nothing on the horizon.

    Sandy is a patient man; he’s committed to his own timelines and his own valuations. I don’t think a trade is going to happen until he sees what happens when TDA and ZW get here; but I do think a trade is going to be the (only) solution to this offense.

    • Chris F
      May 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Yeah, I totally agree.

  8. May 8, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Life is about ironies. Maybe I’m wrong but I seem to recall Davey Johnson making the final out in the ’69 World Series. You deal from where you are the deepest so the Mets will have to trade from pitching to get an outfielder of substance. That’s why I mention the Angels whose starting outfield is comprised of 3 quality center fielders.

  9. Mike
    May 11, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Idk why he’s e saying d’Arnaud will be out till aug sept at the earliest, he’s been healing for 3weeks already. Its a broken bone in his foot not tommy john surgery. june July seems to be about the time to me. Always such gloom and doom with these writers.

    • May 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

      He went on the DL on 4/18 and he was supposed to need at least two months to recover. Then he needs to play himself back into shape, be hitting enough to merit a promotion and not have the guy ahead of him playing at an All-Star level. It’s not “gloom and doom” – it’s a reasonable forecast.

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