Were the 2017 Mets really built to win?

For anyone out there who became a Mets fan this season, you need to understand something. This team was not meant to be awful. We were not supposed to be 25 games out of first place and 14 out of wild card contention. We were not supposed to be trotting out lineups full of guys you never heard of before. We were, in fact, supposed to be serious contenders this year. Really.

You see, two years ago this team won the pennant behind a phenomenal young power pitching staff that was the envy of all of baseball. And last year, despite a few injuries and hiccups, they made it back to the playoffs. Along with all those young hurlers, the team had a nice collection of veteran power hitters, a solid bullpen and even a pretty deep bench in case there were a few injuries. There was all sorts of optimism in spring training with talk of this team making the playoffs for the third year in a row for the first time in Mets history.

So, what the hell happened you ask? Well, to say things didn’t go as planned is an understatement. Every pitcher not named Jacob deGrom or Jerry Blevins suffered a serious injury. And the only hitters not to join them on the disabled list were pending free agents traded to save money in a lost season. So if you want to know where all the good players are, look at the disabled list where you’ll find most of our rotation, our brightest young star hitter, and a host of other Mets. Check the box scores around the league too and you’ll notice good players like Jay Bruce, Addison Reed, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Lucas Duda, and Rene Rivera helping out playoff hopeful teams. Not long ago those six guys helped round out a good Mets team. Now we have lots of holes to fill in the off-season, but wait, first we have to get all these guys off the disabled list. No wait, that’s second. First is seeing if their replacements can play this game.

Did I mention that both the manager and general manager might not be back next year? It’s overwhelming, I know. Still don’t believe that this awful team was expected to be good this year? A few points to consider:

– If any five of the seven healthy starting pitchers we had in spring training stayed off the disabled list, we’d have had one of the top rotations in baseball.
– Our lineup was loaded with power and our bench was deep.
– The bullpen was in trouble already thanks to disappointing years from two of our key middle relievers. But the injury to our closer was tough to overcome.
– Our best hitter missed half the season with a variety of leg injuries.
– This team had a few notable weaknesses – lack of team speed, less than average infield defense – but they could have been addressed at the trade deadline as the power pitchers and home run hitters kept us in contention in the first half. Or so, that was the plan.

Before the 2017 season started, this looked like a 90-plus win, playoff bound team with the depth to overcome a reasonable amount of injuries. This blogger noted four key players that had to stay healthy that couldn’t be replaced – Yoenis Cespedes, Jeurys Familia, and two out of three of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Matt Harvey. All but deGrom suffered serious injuries that derailed their seasons.

Next year’s team will look a lot different, but deep within the roster and disabled list is the makings of a core that can be built around.

6 comments for “Were the 2017 Mets really built to win?

  1. September 8, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Do you really expect Harvey and Wright to bounce back? I think Thor, Cespedes and Conforto have a better chance at returning to form. The SP needs to be addressed with so many starters coming down with extended injuries from this so called off season strengthening program that Met management is promoting. With question marks at catcher, first base, second base, third base, SS and SP the FO has their work cut out this off season. It’s time for Collins to retire. Its not how much your payroll Is. But rather how much of it stays off the DL. The Padres have a better record in a tougher division than the Mets with a payroll that’s about 95 million dollars less. How much time did their key players spend on the DL for an extended period of time?

    • MattyMets
      September 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Pete – the post never mentions David Wright. I didn’t factor him into this season’s plans and I certainly wouldn’t factor him in for next year.

      Harvey is a big question mark. But a rotation that starts with Thor and deGrom and includes five other possible starters can be good again with the addition of one solid veteran. Bullpen is the same way with a backend of Familia,Ramos and Blevins. Even the lineup looks like it’s full of holes but bring back Jay Bruce to go with a healthy Cespedes and Conforto and you have both a strong outfield and middle of the order. All that’s left is to add a good second or third baseman and this team is back in business. The core is there. It’s just not healthy.

      • September 9, 2017 at 4:11 am

        That is the main point isn’t it Matty? Why so many injuries to the core? Can’t predict injuries but SP are constantly going down with some kind of ailment. And then if and when they return they last 5 innings. No bullpen is going to stay strong and healthy at that rate. I know you didn’t mention Wright but its 20 million less the Wilpons have to play with. I have stated on other posts he should work out some kind of buyout and retire. I hate the Wilpons but I can sympathize with their dilemma at third base. I think the Mets as usual will be looking in from the outside with their offer to Bruce. Lastly are you sold at the catchers position? You really think d’Arnaud is the answer at that position?

    • Chris F
      September 8, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Its hard to argue with your assessment Pete.

  2. Pete from NJ
    September 8, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    As I read your post, I had to refer back to your title. Yes of course: the 2017 was built to win. Veteran players all brought back on their final contract year. A few holes in the roster for sure but let us all refer to all the posts this past spring.

    Yes we were ready. No it didn’t happen. And for a historical Met season I remember reading a book byJoel Oppenheimer about the 1972 season. It was called the “Wrong Season.”

    Different year. Same stuff.

  3. Metsense
    September 8, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Matt +1 but instead of “one solid veteran” bring in a 3+ or better starting pitcher.

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