We’re all armchair GMs to one degree or another and no one more so than me. We also play judge, jury and executioner. Unfortunately many do this before all the facts are in, with a belief that it’s more important to be first than it is to be right. My position is that in the big picture, there’s always time to be depressed so there’s no reason to rush to that conclusion.
By the end of the 2017 season, the Mets had traded away most of their impending free agents for a bunch of righty relievers and payroll relief that did not seem earmarked for next year’s budget. Additionally, there were rumors of a massive cut to team payroll, rumors that no one in a position of power on the Mets did much to contradict.
These two factors, along with a 92-loss season, put much of the fanbase in a foul mood.
If you were told at the beginning of October that the Mets would add a third baseman who’s averaged 3.4 fWAR the past six years, an outfielder who’s averaged nearly 30 HR the past seven years and a reliever who had a 2.33 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP – you wouldn’t have believed it. If on top of this, you were told that they hired a manager who was universally praised as one of the top young minds in the game, revamped their medical system – including getting rid of the Angel of Death (and fall guy) Ray Ramirez – and purchased their own Triple-A farm club in Syracuse and thus ending the game of musical chairs that has seen them exiled to two different PCL clubs, how would you have reacted? Hopefully not with pitchforks and Tiki torches.
Still, we all recognize that the Mets will need better health, specifically from their starting rotation, if they are going to return to the playoffs in 2018.
This knowledge has many banging the drum for the club to bring in another starter, even though they have nine guys under contract already who started games for the club last year. Last year the Mets had seven guys planned to get most of the starts, which was an okay plan as long as three didn’t get hurt at the same time. Woops
Is nine enough for 160 or so starts? Nobody has any idea. Maybe the club will get a better feel for the situation as Spring Training both arrives and develops. Last year, the Mets had two of their seven guys go down while they were still in Florida and they did nothing to address the situation. We need to hope they don’t make that mistake again.
But the way the market has developed this year gives hope that if Grapefruit League play uncovers injuries and/or ineffectiveness among the starters, that Sandy Alderson will find a suitable replacement. Or at least one better than Tommy Milone.
My opinion is that the default assumption should not be (right now) that nine starters is too few and that they need to go out and sign a “second tier” SP among the available free agents. But if Matt Harvey’s breaking balls have no bite and Seth Lugo has an elbow the size of a grapefruit and Steven Matz has no location – by all means change course and get a pitcher you feel comfortable getting 30 starts.
Currently, the Mets have an issue with their rotation where if everyone is ready to go, there simply isn’t enough spots for them. Why spend money to compound that situation? Last year Doug Fister was there for the taking well after the season started. The slow market ensures that someone Fister or better will be available in mid to late March this year, too.
So, if the Mets don’t go out and sign Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn in the next 48 hours, let’s try to do a better job on the judge-jury-executioner thing. This offseason has been pretty good so far and with nine starting pitching candidates on hand already, there’s a valid reason for patience.
But it’s okay if you’re chomping at the bit for February 12th to arrive. Pitchers and catchers reporting is always a great day.