Chemistry, intangibles, things that don’t show up in the box score. We’ve heard these and other phrases a million times throughout the years. Some people dismiss these out of hand while others assign mythic qualities to them. My beliefs align much closer to the former. However, anyone who’s been in any kind of work environment knows that there are people who make things better and people who make things worse.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell those things from afar. In a sports environment, we depend on announcers and other media people to fill in the blanks for us. Which makes sense, since they’re in the locker rooms and maybe even on the planes with the athletes. They get to see them interact beyond how well they turn the double play together.

The problem is that the media is there but there’s still a barrier between them and the players. Maybe it’s nothing more than an age difference. Perhaps it’s the jock versus nerd thing that never truly goes away. Or maybe it’s the players doing whatever they can to maintain privacy in their fishbowl existence. Whatever the reason, the media doesn’t always get things right.

How often were we told what a great influence Bartolo Colon was for the younger Mets pitchers? And then when he was released by the Braves and free to sign with whichever team he wanted, Colon picked the Twins when supposedly the Mets’ brass wanted him back. Colon told Thomas Lipe of the New York Post,

I [was] surprised,” Colon said through an interpreter. “I have a lot of friends with the Mets, and none of the players called me to see if I could come back with the Mets.

What happened here? Just trying to put myself in the shoes of the Mets players. If someone who helped me and who was a great guy was available, wouldn’t I touch base with him and try to get him back? It just seems like someone would. Maybe there were six guys who really wanted him back and each one thought someone else had a stronger relationship with Colon and would be the one to reach out to him. It’s impossible to know why this happened. All we know is that no one reached out to this alleged beloved teammate.

Then there was Asdrubal Cabrera, frequently seen on the top step of the dugout to remove the batting helmet of a teammate who just scored. We were told repeatedly what a team guy he was and then he demanded his option to be picked up before he would move to third base. A momentary lapse in judgment? Sure, that’s a strong possibility. Although he didn’t seem to be on the top step very much the second half of last year and rookie Amed Rosario sure seemed to click better with Jose Reyes than he did with Cabrera.

And of course the biggest example doesn’t come with a player but with ex-manager Terry Collins. For years we were told what a great guy he was and how his players loved him and never quit on him. And then there was Marc Carig’s piece which shattered a lot of those myths to pieces. Personally, I would have preferred that story to have been written years earlier than it was. The timing made it look like a hit piece. Maybe it was. But if nothing else it showed that not everything was rosy by the end of the 2017 season.

Perhaps the takeaway is that with a large group that things are never harmonious 100 percent of the time, even among those considered leaders and great teammates. Not even chemistry bats 1.000 in the clutch.

Regardless, let’s move on to positive sides of this chemistry issue.

After living in each other’s pockets since Spring Training, it’s not a surprise when the season ends and guys go their separate ways. Yet we’ve heard quite a bit about Mets teammates interacting with each other here in the offseason. Here are a few items, mostly pulled from MetsBlog pieces .

Brandon Nimmo plans to attend Steven Matz’ wedding later in the offseason.
Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki met unexpectedly in Maui and went snorkeling together.
Jerry Blevins has spoken to Matt Harvey a few times.
A bunch of teammates, including Harvey and Plawecki, showed up for Travis d’Arnaud’s wedding.

The picture at the top of this article was from d’Arnaud’s wedding. A bunch of Mets guys in here but perhaps the most interesting guy is not a current Met but a former one. On the top row, nestled between David Wright and Jacob deGrom is a bald guy. And in case you don’t recognize him without his uniform on, that’s Addison Reed.

My hope is that Reed developed great chemistry with his former Mets teammates and would be open to coming back here as a free agent. It seems most of the buzz among relievers is for Bryan Shaw and the most buzz among a reunion of guys traded last year is for Jay Bruce. Both of those guys would be okay. But given my druthers, my choice would be for Reed.

For, you know, chemistry reasons.

33 comments on “Mets weddings and team chemistry

  • TexasGusCC

    I recognized Reed, Plawecki, and TDA with the bow tie. Also, I think Wheeler is on TDA’s right, but I don’t recognize the others. Is that really DeGrom next to Reed? That toothpick is David Wright? Wow.

    Can we get an ID of who each one is?
    Colon is full of it. He didn’t come here because he is chasing Juan Maricial’s record and wanted to go wherever he was guaranteed starts and most likely wins. So, that’s the AL Twins, who had a healthier lineup, over the NL Mets, where he can get removed in a tie game more easily.

    • Brian Joura

      The only one I can possibly add is next to the one you think is Wheeler looks like Conforto to me.

      • TexasGusCC

        I believe you’re right. The joyval one taking a knee, with his right arm outstretched on the left shoulder of the one sitting, seems too familiar to not recognize; but I can’t remember who that is. And, where’s my buddy in this picture?

  • Mike Koehler

    Why not Reed and Shaw?

    • Brian Joura

      They’re paying somewhere around $23-$25 million for Familia, Ramos and Blevins. I just don’t see them adding $18-$20 million more for the bullpen.

  • Chris F

    I dont think you can dismiss chemistry. Of course you need competent players, but team chemistry can propel a good team to the next level. It can take a great team, like the Nats, and terminate them (2015 for example). I listen to enough MLB radio to hear how criitcal it is, and how corrosive it can be in the negative. A bunch of friends with ho hum talent cant use chemistry to make them a team they are not, but dismiss chemistry at your own peril. Houston was so close to elimination, yet Ive heard plenty of interviews how much their belief in each other helped each to deliver. Its X factor stuff. Its real.

    • Name

      There’s a reason you never hear about team chemistry when the team is in the midst of winning.
      What idiot would stir the pot and create unnecessary distractions when things are going well? Such a person would suffer the wrath of the fans and most likely be fired. It’s career suicide.

      Only after does a team fail do “bad” chemistry reports come out. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      • Name

        There’s a reason you never hear about *negative* team chemistry

        Edit missed word

        • Jimmy P

          We hear about that all the time. So-and-so is a “cancer in the clubhouse,” etc.

  • david

    1969 World Champs

  • TJ

    I am with you regarding Reed over Shaw for multiple reasons. Both concern me regarding their recent usage, but overall Reed has less usage and inning. He is a year younger. He has closed and closed some in NY. His numbers are better across the board. And, lastly, it sure looks from afar like chemistry is a plus.

    • Brian Joura

      I don’t expect Reed to come back to the Mets but I am curious to see if he becomes a closer next year or returns to a setup role somewhere.

  • Chris F

    Well from the early word from Orlando, looks like Alderson is taking the “team chemistry”, fairy dust, and unicorns approach to winning (from MMO)

    • James Wagner of the New York Times reports that Alderson reiterated the team’s pursuit of an outfielder/first base type as Conforto works his way back from injury. This player figures to be from the lower tier and someone who won’t eliminate Dominic Smith from first base contention in Spring Training.

    • When asked about potential trades, Alderson said, “the minor league system isn’t brimming with prospects right now,” according to Mike Puma

    • With two relievers already coming off the board in Brandon Morrow and Luke Gregerson, Alderson said the Mets will be looking for “value” in the relief market and won’t jump into the “inferno,”

    So, with no reason to be at winter meetings to improve the team, Im in full rebuild mode: Time to move Sydergaard and deGrom and get poised for the future.

    • TexasGusCC

      Chris, I wonder why Alderson was forward about his thinking. Was it because those are his owners’ orders and he wishes that to be conveyed to the world? After all, he didn’t have a problem being honest about why he traded away players without trying to get better talent in August.

      It just doesn’t make sense to be so snobby about potential free agents because to sign with the Mets is to look like you discounted yourself.

      Mike Vaccaro‏
      Verified account

      Follow @MikeVacc

      It’s hard to believe that the men who own the #Mets could have witnessed how ga-ga the city was for them in 2015, and observed how ga-ha it was for the #Yankees this year, and not be willing to spend to remain a part of it. Why even own the team then? What’s the point?
      7:43 PM – 10 Dec 2017

  • Jim OMalley

    It would be so nice to see the Mets try and get a difference maker at some position but I don’t see anything happening apart from flotsam and jetsam.

  • Chris F

    Welcome to the dynamic world of beige, which describes Alderson to a T.

  • Chris F

    Later, here at Disney, Alderson will head over to Fantasy Land, and sign a top reliever for 800K.

    – Mike Puma

  • Chris F

    Heard Alderson is sending out signals to agents that he may wait until after the Winter Meetings, maybe even into January, to sign a reliever. Meshes with his statement earlier about seeking “value” instead of jumping “into the inferno.”

    – Mike Puma

    • TJ

      The Tampa Bay Mets.

      Alderson’s demeanor and body language are just horrendous.

      • TexasGusCC

        Actually, he was hired to make them the Oakland Mets. The Tampa franchise has a good farm system and thusly their General Manager doesn’t have to openly say that the upper levels are barren. Alderson’s very matter-of-fact-ly about this. Funny, he usually keeps things to himself…

        • Chris F

          OMG Gus, that’s the hands down best comment of the Hot Stove so far. I thought I might have been in the running with “rebuilding for it” but *Oakland Mets* is king!

          There can be absolutely zero doubt, the biggest impediment to the Mets is ownership and the FO.

          • TexasGusCC

            Chris, can you please explain to me the rationale of Alderson to make these comments Before the winter meetings even start?

            I don’t care about the first baseman because the best one won’t even get a shot and he would be as good as Bruce would be anyway, but after saying he wants to get pitching, starting and relief, why proclaim to the world that you aren’t even considering the better options?

            • TJ

              We will likely never know the complete truth, but here is my theory –
              1. Alderson is no dummy
              2. He is very unhappy with the lack of funds provided
              3. He is sick of having to be the public face of lying, cheap owners. Despite getting a 7 figure salary, he is very competitive and his reputation is on the line
              4. His sarcastic remarks about RF and his candidacy about the farm system are his way of calling out ownership in a passive/aggressive manner

              • TexasGusCC

                Yep, thinking some similar thoughts. Probably had some agreements at the resigning that they would leave him alone to do his work, but we can see changes already from October to now. And further, they don’t have the balls to silence him or fire him.

              • Chris F

                Im happy to blame ownership, but this is a co-dependent relationship. What we see in Alderson is who he is. Hes a small market, ultraconservative, unimaginative, semi-robot that thinks he’s smarter than everything and everyone. Every word out of his mouth flies in the face of what your eyeball sees, and what the numbers say.

                Our splash this year occurred outside the lines. He genuinely believes this team is loaded with hidden talent, so much so that the team only needs back up, or back end talent to complete the roster. Its a joke. In spending to build a new coaching staff, and adding a “director of performance” it says he’s done the heavy lifting. Now that we heard Callaway and Eiland dont want to trade Harvey, we are moments away from hearing its almost as if we are adding a top notch starter without paying anything.

                Smoke meet mirror. Mirror, let me introduce you to smoke. Madoff is in the cell next door.

  • Jimmy P

    The Wilpons have been horrible owners and Alderson has been in cahoots from the beginning. This is his last big payday before retirement. He’s cashing in.

    On the issue of “chemistry”: Of course it matters, of course it’s important. But it’s complex and can’t be statistically measured so the SABR people just dismiss it because they can’t count it. And they get all snobby about it in the process. It’s kind of pathetic, actually.

    One comment about “chemistry”: I think it’s even mistaken for “friendship.” That’s not my understanding of science. Contraries can also be effective, dynamic.

    These past couple of years I’ve zeroed in on the need for a diverse range of talents and personalities on a team. An offense that features a variety of tools, a number of ways to score runs, the ideal of the old-fashioned lineup.

    I believe this leaderless Mets club really needs a transfusion in the clubhouse. New energy, new dynamic, and — yes, most of all — new talent.

    The Mets suck so hard right now it’s depressing. Just an unholy mess. Alderson should be driven out of town. He’s smug and grotesque.

    The last 3-4 years, at least 3 of the teams in the NL East weren’t even trying. This year, there’s the Nats and four teams who are punting. Thank goodness for Alderson that it represents 1/3 of the entire schedule against Braves, Marlins, and Phillies. They will all be passing Mets in a year or two. We’ll look back on Alderson’s reign — this man the bloggers instantly compared to Frank Cashen — oh, the outrage! — as “the lost decade.” A waste.

    • Chris F


    • TexasGusCC

      James, I can agree with some things you say, but I really feel these last two years this team had more talent than the 2015 team, and that team got to the World Series. However, a week ago, Fangraphs ranked the Mets the 28th best Front Office. Personally, I think Colorado, Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh and Detroit are worse, and I say Detroit because they should be unloading all the veterans but instead they’re shopping Fulmer.

      But, I blame Alderson for the terrible scouting and drafting, for the stupid free agent decisions like the Cuddyer fiasco, and for signing over the hill scrubs for Bozo to play, but I don’t know what pressure the Wilpons put on him in that area because we all realize that Bozo was playing politics and going around Alderson to make requests.

      As far as three teams in the division not caring, don’t be fooled: The Marlins had a great lineup, the Phillies have some nice young talent, and the Braves played .500 ball so they aren’t sloutches. The Reds, A’s and Padres are the epitome of not trying.

  • Eraff

    Ok… young Guys…lot’s of money–Life events…Good fun, and good for them!

    “Chemistry” in an organization is about willingness and devotion to things beyond one’s self—serving The Whole…. First!

    Management helps by installing an atmosphere of trust that enables guys to know that they will be rewarded by focusing on the team. For instance, Cabrera moving to 2nd or third…the real problem for Azzie was that he didn;t want to diminish his market position if the team wasn’t commited to Him…. in some ways, he would be a more valuable market commodity by playing SS, versus surrendering to the team need for him to play elsewhere.

    So…. it helps to have a core of players in place…relatively non-transient guys. The Mets are in a phase where this is not the case. All the weddings in the world don’t help…..unless the team picks the right foundation players—the ones they should be Married to.

  • MattyMets

    There I was another pic I saw on social media that indicates Wright is still off-field buddies with Josh Satin.

  • The Plan Needs Players | Metstradamus Blog

    […] last” a little too literally. Any chance Addison Reed would want to come back so that he can be in more wedding pictures? (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = […]

  • The Plan Needs Players | Sports Media 101

    […] We’re halfway through the Winter Meetings and the Mets can’t even get themselves a not-so-sexy reliever. I mean, everybody is getting what they want. The Angels got Ohtani, the Yankees got Stanton, and the cat got a Roomba. The Mets? They lost out on Tommy Hunter. There’s still time to get things done, but the Mets are taking “open this last” a little too literally. Any chance Addison Reed would want to come back so that he can be in more wedding pictures? […]

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