Last week, some bozo relayed a story about Yankee fans wanting Jacob deGrom and what the Mets would want back in any deal. In yesterday’s 2-0 pasting by the Braves – yes, it’s a pasting because this Mets “offense” is finding a 0-1 deficit insurmountable lately – deGrom took the loss, again, while pitching brilliantly, again. A few Yankee fans took to social media to tut-tut and say what a shame it is for deGrom. The tone was that by rights, he should be pitching for a contender, where his talent could be truly appreciated and rewarded, that it’s going to waste on a historically horrible team. This is the baseball-fan equivalent of one of your buddies hanging out with you and your girlfriend, then telling you seriously and in private “She deserves better.”
Maybe all this is true, but baseball economics and current collectively bargained circumstances will keep deGrom with the Mets at their whim for the next two seasons, as well as the rest of this one, so if a contender wants to swoop in, it’s going to have to dazzle the Queens brain trust. In any event, deGrom’s starts have been the lone bright spot in this rotten-to-the-core season. Much like Matt Harvey in 2013, deGrom’s games have become must-see TV. It’s different than Harvey, though, because watching deGrom is like watching a craftsman at work – precision cuts, dazzling artistry – where with Harvey, it was an admiration of sheer power and determination to force his will on a given game. Pity that there was scant evidence of that by the time he left, but life goes on.
The rest of the story for this year so far is the steady drumbeat of bad news. Since mid-April, the season has become a drip-drip-drip of DL stints, bad offense, bad bullpen, bad quotes, bad managing and bad timing. Howie Rose mentioned it on the radio yesterday, after Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson made a dive, spin and strong throw to snuff out a would-be Mets hit. “This is what it looks like when you’re a confident, relaxed, first-place team,” he said, “where the Mets are nervous, pressing and two plays that weren’t made have given the Braves this 1-0 lead.” Interesting take, but the Mets’ grinding their bats to sawdust is only part of the story. Another part is a simple lack of talent. The front office hasn’t built this team to compete in today’s game. The trend the last few years has been to build around young position players and fill your pitching with veterans via trade or free agent signing. GM Sandy Alderson has taken the opposite tack, making his rock young starting pitching and adding veterans in the field. This stratagem brought them a pennant in 2015, a wild card in 2016 and a year and a half of abject disaster. The great young starting pitching has turned out to be fragile and the veteran position players are rickety. I’ll leave the bullpen woes aside, as there really is no way to manage the year-to-year fluctuations in fortunes inherent in any bullpen staff that doesn’t include a Mariano Rivera. Alderson took responsibility for the whole thing the other day in a press conference, but whoop-de-damn-doo. We fans are still left rooting for garbage. Maybe owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon are playing a long game, maybe setting us all up for the ultimate heartbreak. Maybe they’re thinking of moving the team, a la their hero, Walter O’Malley.
Are you ready to root for the Montreal Mets?
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