The Mets are done; it’s time to enjoy the baseball

Mother Nature took pity on the Mets last night, dumping inches upon inches of water on our nation’s capital, sparing them further embarrassment. The Washington Nationals, one of the most talent-laden teams in the National League even when dealing with a wave of injuries, has owned the New Yorkers once again this year, winning nine of twelve so far. And most of those nine losses haven’t been close. As we speak, the Mets sit 11.5 games behind those Nats for the division lead and nine-and-a-half out of a wild card spot, with slightly less than half a season to go. Barring a miracle of historic proportions, the odds are that the Mets will stay right where they are: miles behind the pack. As Met fans, we wish we could say we were unaccustomed to being in this position, but of course, the feeling is all too familiar. There’s really nothing to do but watch it play out and take what pleasures we may from the rest of the summer.

For instance, the further behind the Mets get, the more likely we are to see Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith in Queens. With the pressure of a pennant race a non-factor, neither one will be looked upon to “save the season.” This was GM Sandy Alderson’s stated concern regarding Rosario, that he didn’t him seen as a “savior.” Not much chance of that now, is there? Yes, these guys are young, but a lot of times younger, hungrier players are a lot more fun to watch, with their spryer legs heightened energy levels. We can remember the excitement when Jose Reyes made his debut in a lost 2003 season and David Wright did the same in blighted 2004. I don’t know about you, but I’d be all for some better infield defense.

Summer is about diversion. It’s when you turn your brain off for more than a weekend. We all have pressure in our daily lives and here in the greater NYC area, it’s hustle-hustle-hustle, pretty much all the time. Sometimes, it’s just nice to watch the game without any implications as to the standings, playoff position or final record. A late spring training, as it were. Games that don’t really “mean” anything, other than another summer diversion. It’s nice to just take in the sights and smells, the feel of the game and let it wrap itself around you. We can admire the beauty of a nicely turned double-play, even if our team is losing 5-1. We can yell for Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes as they hit balls a long way. We can thrill to Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz as they mow down hitters. We can see exactly what we have, here, in Brandon Nimmo and Wilmer Flores and T. J. Rivera. We can spend hot nights eating hot dogs and watching fireworks. We can go to the game to see a particular pitcher or an opposing superstar or just to go. We can be un-fraught. We can have the rest of our summer.

Yeah, it stinks to be in this position, but sometimes, it ain’t all bad.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

23 comments for “The Mets are done; it’s time to enjoy the baseball

  1. Pete from NJ
    July 6, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Nice essay. It puts everything into focus but I sure will miss the adreline rush we all experienced over the past two seasons.

    We as fans I supose are spoiled…remember what we all thought and said just a short time ago, let’s say February 2015. Our team was nothing, complaining about Wilpon’s budgets and lack of vision. Now injuries and bad luck and incorrect strategy brought us to ehere we are.

  2. Chris F
    July 6, 2017 at 10:12 am

    It is nice and relaxing. Of course the energy of Aug and Sept of 2015 was magical, but like you say, its easy to sit down and not worry all that much except figuring out how to make 18 a better season.

    Next year will look mighty different I hope, so its kind of fun imagining what next year’s roster will be…who will we trade? who will we get back? what FAs will come? will we have anew GM? skipper?

  3. IB
    July 6, 2017 at 10:16 am

    This team is tough to watch and enjoy. Too slow, too streaky, too weak defensively. Neither Bruce nor Duda can beat the shift unless they hit it out of the park. Cespedes, when healthy, checks out when the team is losing. Reyes isn’t Reyes. D’Arnaud is on the precipice of being the proverbial bust.

    Outside of watching DeGrom and Matz at their best it’s dull, lazy fly ball, station to station baseball. Would love to see them swing a trade for Dee Gordon – I know it aint gonna happen.

    Rosario and Smith. Yes. Why not. Let em play.

    A fan’s lament….

    • Steve S.
      July 6, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Agree that it’s tough to watch our team these days. I do like watching TJ hit, and Bruce hustles and is having a good year, and well worth the money they’re paying him. But how about improving the defense and bullpen?

      I do look forward to seeing the young guys play in the bigs soon!

    • Chris F
      July 6, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Dee Gordon? the guy who cant do anything unless he taking drugs. no thanks

      • IB
        July 6, 2017 at 1:11 pm

        A gold glove 2nd basemen who’ll hit around 300, steal 50 bases and capable of giving the opposition fits. Yeah, I like him and it’s what the Mets can use.

        • Chris F
          July 6, 2017 at 1:25 pm

          He won a GG and SS the year he doped his way to a trade. Since coming back from his 80 game suspension, and apparently not juicing, hes not a 300 hitter, has an OBP less that Duda, and has posted a less-than-league-average OPS+. But sure, he will steal bases. I’d take every option we have in front of Gordon.

          • July 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm

            Your stance on juicing has been undeniably consistent through the years.

            I don’t want Gordon, either, but I’m chalking up his 2015 season to something different. Everyone looks good when they post a .383 BABIP. He’s never posted a mark higher than .346 in any other season in his career. He’s got a healthy .336 mark right now and he’s just not good. I don’t want a guy who has to run a BABIP greater than .350 to be good, especially since he’s only done it once in his career.

            He’s played in 81 games and has 353 PA. If we double that, he would have 706 PA and if we double his runs scored, it would be 94. Everyone keeps telling me what a strong offensive team the Marlins have. If your leadoff hitter can’t score 100 runs despite 700+ PA in front of a strong lineup, well, he’s just not elite.

            Jose Reyes had 703 PA in 2006 and had 122 runs scored.

            • Jimmy P
              July 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm

              Not a big Gordon fan either.

              Luis Castillo was better.

              But 94 runs scored is a nice number. If you look at runs scored leaders in the past for both leagues, you see big middle of the order power hitters at the top of those lists. This year it’s Judge of Goldschmidt.

              Not the leadoff guys.

              • July 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

                Well, you give yourself a big boost if like Judge you tie Joe DiMaggio for the team record for HR by a rookie before the All-Star break. But it goes beyond that. Judge has a .449 OBP and has 45 runs scored when he hasn’t hit a homer, despite not having that Judge guy able to drive him in. Goldschmidt has a .431 OBP and has scored 53 runs when he didn’t hit a HR, despite not having Goldschmindt to drive him in.

                The theory has been to get guys on base for the boppers to drive them in. The theory is valid. The issue is that it’s derived from “getting on base” to have someone who runs fast and doesn’t hit homers bat leadoff. How many runs are the Reds leaving on the table by batting a guy with a .294 OBP in the leadoff spot? Their 2-6 hitters are killing it and they’re shooting themselves in the foot by not maximizing the leadoff spot. It’s reminiscent of those mid 70s – early 80s Pirates teams. How many runs would they have scored if they hadn’t insisted batting Omar Moreno leadoff?

                The raw number is not impressive and it becomes worse when you consider the people batting behind you.

                Teams have to ask themselves if they gain by putting a non-traditional guy in the leadoff spot. Terry Collins gets crucified by me and a lot of other people for his strategy moves but he deserves credit for putting Conforto there and sticking with him, even when Reyes had a little bounceback and people were clamoring for him to return to the top spot. Reyes doesn’t get on base enough to be a useful leadoff hitter. And while Gordon is better than Reyes, he still wouldn’t be an ideal guy.

                If the Mets are hell-bent on getting someone besides Conforto to bat leadoff next year, the idea is to get someone good. They can’t be satisfied with getting someone who’s merely better than Reyes. That’s replacing a window with three cracks in it with a window that only has two cracks. It’s better but it’s still not good.

            • Chris F
              July 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm

              Im just sayin, off the gas and the numbers drop.

              • July 7, 2017 at 10:26 am

                I don’t think there’s even anecdotal evidence for PEDs to increase BABIP by that much. Fluke seasons happen all of the time and to place all of the credit/blame for his fluke BABIP to PEDs isn’t accurate.

                Gordon played 21 games before he got busted in 2016. He clearly was using then and his BABIP at .325 was 58 points below what it was in 2015. He’s still getting tested now and his BABIP is at .338 in 2017. He has the profile of a guy who should run a BABIP higher than what we consider “normal.” I don’t have any issue thinking his speed and batted ball profile should lead to a .320-.330 BABIP. But a .383 mark is a fluke.

            • IB
              July 7, 2017 at 8:59 am

              Didn’t say he was elite. I think the Mets need guys at the top of the lineup who can put the ball in play, run, keep the D off balance and Gold Glove cover their position. It’s been pointed out in the comments here several times that the Mets have a redundant lineup. Which is clearly right on target when you watch this team day in and day out.

              Gordon, or someone similar, would be a start to changing the dynamics of that redundant lineup. I like watching him play.

              • July 7, 2017 at 10:17 am

                Then you’re not doing anything besides arguing for a principle over reality. The reality is that the Mets’ offense this year was good once they took Reyes out of the leadoff spot. Just because people say things over and over doesn’t make it true. Go where the evidence leads you, not where conventional wisdom does.

                Percentage-wise, Michael Conforto scored more often as a leadoff hitter than Gordon.

                It doesn’t matter what the player hits like or how he runs. What matters for a leadoff hitter is how often he gets on base. Go throughout baseball history and look for all of the little guys who spray the ball around and run like the wind and have an OBP of .330 or less and compare them to the guys with no speed but who can get on base at a.360 or more clip. The latter group will score more runs the overwhelming majority of the time.

                It’s why Joey Votto has more runs scored than Billy Hamilton despite the fact that Hamilton has Votto and his .622 SLG to drive him in.

                • IDRAFT
                  July 7, 2017 at 2:50 pm

                  I agree that plodding or not, the offense has been fine with this roster. Not so the defense,and the pitching suffers for that nightly. The team is too one dimensional and slow.

                  Personally I also find this style of play boring as hell and baseball is an entertainment business. But that’s me, and I don’t know if most people prefer station to station baseball and tons of strikeouts if it means more home runs.

                  If the team wins the entertainment part doesn’t matter, winning trumps all. But if you don’t, bad and boring is bad business.

                  • July 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm

                    I agree completely that winning trumps all. I’m not sure about fans coming out in 2017 for a losing team that is somehow entertaining. The 1962 Mets were one thing. But those conditions no longer exist.

                    The fielding absolutely is a problem and there’s no reason not to bring up Rosario a month ago to improve the fielding.

                    But, let’s talk about roster construction and the thought going into Spring Training versus what’s happened once the real games started. Last year, Cabrera was below average but playable at SS. Reyes wasn’t particularly good at 3B but the hope was that Wright would play some (Ha!) and that when Reyes was at 3B, we’d see improvement since he had a whole offseason and ST to get ready for the position.

                    Was that unreasonable?

                    Instead, Cabrera fell off noticeably and Reyes showed no improvement whatsoever. With Wright not getting on the field, that’s meant more PT on the left side for Wilmer Flores than anticipated, which hasn’t helped the defense.

                    There’s no doubt that it hasn’t worked out and the Mets have compounded the problem by not calling up Rosario and playing Flores on the left side of the infield. But I think it’s more of a case of things working out poorly and the organization doing its typical terrible job of adjusting on the fly rather than the initial plan being a disaster.

                    To my recollection, no one was complaining about Cabrera at SS at the end of March. And plenty of people were hoping Reyes would play a lot so he could be the leadoff hitter. If someone has a link to a 2017 story or comment before April 1 complaining about the defense of those two, please post it.

  4. Jimmy P
    July 6, 2017 at 11:03 am

    What a season. It begins with predictions of a World Series from so many fans . . . and ends on July 6th.

    Didn’t that coming.

    What have we learned?

    • Chris F
      July 6, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Baseball is a fickle mistress.

      In under a year, the Giants have gone from one the best to fighting it out for the worst team in baseball. The Cubs, supposedly dominant for years, battling it out for .500. The Dbax unexpectedly go from zero to hero.

      Were not alone in surprises…but this one does not feel good. Although we can be brainwashed into believing this is all injuries, and for sure its part of the story, it is possible to see that an unbalanced team rapidly comes apart. We dont need defense of pitchers are all power arm K guys. Who cares about getting hits when you can walk and homer your way to the playoffs. It doesnt appeal to me, more so when the plan melts. We saw it fast with the starting pitching, which has dogged us from day one. After the first couple passes through the rotation, I was terrified about command and control. Here after labor day, I dont feel any different. It has been the cause of so much of our woes.

  5. Eraff
    July 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Mets need to explore a Trade of deGrom..Ouch!!! Hear me out.

    With or Without deGrom, the Mets will need 2 of the 3 of Harvey, Syndergaard and Matz to have Ace Seasons in 2018….and deGrom, alone, is a guy with Market Value to bring back 2-3-4 Top Level Prospects–arms, bats, whatever.

    deGrom is Arb Eligible in 2018…not a FA until 2021—he can bring them a Haul…and they need a Haul!

    As for Harvey and Syndee—and Matz—the Mets are “stuck” with them right now thru the start of 2018. They are not good trade pieces for the Mets or the Market. If the 3 returnees shine, with a talent influx, the Mets will compete in 2018.

    • Rob
      July 6, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      As much as it kills me I agree with you. There are some nice young arms that may be soon ready at AA and A but the haul he would bring back. Maybe get reall centerfielder and leadoff hitter and then some.

    • TexasGusCC
      July 7, 2017 at 1:34 am

      Eraff, I’m a “bird in the hand beats two in the bush” kind of person. First, I can’t trust prospects and we have seen top prospects fail. Had this been his walk year, I get it; but why forego three years of a very good contributor for prospects?

      Too, the Mets need to evaluate who their “solutions” are and who their “problems” are. You see any other contending team trading a good player with three years control and then look to replace that? It isn’t so easy.

    • Jimmy P
      July 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

      I believe this is a valid question and worth exploring.

      Sandy has to listen to offers, but I’d put this in the must be “blown away” category.

      For my part, I’d keep him. Jake is cool.

      Connected to this question, I have to say that it looks like SA has put together yet another very weak Brooklyn team. The overall results in the minors are disturbing, and we’re certainly not seeing a culture of excellence and winning in the system. So maybe if we can’t draft and develop, a sell-off of a huge chip is the only answer.

      Very glad to see the Mets spending in the international market. That’s a positive sign and we have not been aggressive in that area during SA’s tenure.

      This winter SA has to be really light on his feet, creative, able to pivot quickly and reload and re-imagine the 2018 Mets. I don’t have a lot of faith in his ability to do that, but we’ll see.

      For my part, I thought the starting pitching was going to cover for a lot of flaws to help bring the club to 89-91 wins. I hoped it would be enough for a WC. But was always troubled by the bad pen, the terrible defense, the lack of speed, the weak minor league system in general and in AAA in particular (lack of replacements). So as much as I hated much of the overall team, that pitching just seemed undeniable to me. It’s July and Syndergaard, Matz, Harvey and Wheeler have 10 wins, total. We’ve got a bullpen that includes Neil Ramirez, Erik Goeddel, Chasen Bradford. There’s not a single “big arm” in the pen. We’re forced into feeling encouraged by mediocre performances from guys like Paul Sewald and Josh Edgin. Hell, some folks are hoping to get Josh Smoker back. Sigh.

      Come on, Sandy. Wake up.

      It’s time for a new manager and a general transfusion. That said, there’s still several key parts in place and a lot of money. The Mets could come back very strong in 2018. This is not time to bring back the usual suspects.

  6. Eraff
    July 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    In a “normal projection range”, they’d be adding the missing links now—and I believe that’s always the right approach. I worried about Starter Health and Infield health— all the post surgical guys. I did not see anything like the demolition they’ve become. Virtually Everything went wrong, health wise.

    I don’t necessarily fault roster construction

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