This weekend, Mets ownership (with a whisper in the ear from their three not-GMs) will hand the illusion of team reigns over to Wilfred Brimley, Jerry Maguire or Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Whichever partially qualified B-list candidate gets the job, let’s hope they’re watching the World Series to see just how much separates the pennant-winning Dodgers and Red Sox from this iteration of the Mets.

Obviously, there’s a talent gap and a payroll gap, but, there’s also a different line of thinking, a different set of priorities and a different organizational focus. The Dodgers have incredible depth and are able to overcome the types of injuries that have crippled the Mets these past few years. A $200 million dollar payroll certainly helps, but so does drafting the right players, being aggressive with international signings, knowing how to nurture talent and how to spot diamonds in the rough like Max Muncy and Justin Turner. One team’s trash can be another team’s treasure, but the Mets don’t seem to have an eye for this.

The Dodgers seemingly have had an endless pipeline of young talent graduating through their minor leagues. They have the luxury of letting future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw walk away and reallocating his massive salary (though they likely won’t) because they have young studs like Walker Buehler and Julio Urias stepping into the rotation. The new Mets GM might think it wise to exchange one of our big arms for a bushel of prospects, but imagine the nose dive this team would take in the standings and in attendance if we replaced Jacob deGrom with Corey Oswalt. When one of their best young players, shortstop Corey Seager went down with a season ending injury, the Dodgers simply moved the dynamic Chris Taylor over from the outfield until they could trade for Manny Machado. Okay, the second part may be out of reach in Queens, but what would the Mets have done had Amed Rosario gone down this summer? Probably stuck the washed-up Jose Reyes over there and called up an all-glove, no bat marginal prospect like Luis Guillorme to take the roster spot.

This is a recurring issue with this Mets franchise. We always seem to have hitters who can’t field and fielders who can’t hit. Our talent evaluation needs a major overhaul, as does our player development. Too many times we’ve brought up players from AAA who look lost or over-matched in the big leagues. Time and again, the Dodgers, Red Sox and other playoff teams bring up prospects who hit the ground running and ignite the team. Yes, we may have hit one with Jeff McNeil, but the early returns on Dominic Smith and many others leave a lot to be desired.

The Red Sox spend a lot of money, sure, but they also built their team the same way the Cubs did, by drafting and developing athletic hitter/fielders (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benetendi, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Rafael Devers, et al) and using free agency and trades to build a pitching staff. The Mets have tried the opposite approach and maybe it will still work, but this team needs to learn how to spot more Michael Confortos and fewer Gavin Cecchinis.

The Red Sox lineup, bolstered by the free agent addition of slugger J.D. Martinez, can score at will and in bunches. They can make the best pitchers look bad. The Mets, alternatively, can make journeymen and last-minute injury replacements look like Warren Spahn. An offense built around waiting for a home run only works when the team is stacked with power hitters in their prime – like the Yankees. Otherwise, runs are scored efficiently and consistently by lineups that feature patient hitters who don’t swing at garbage, fleet footed players who can take an extra base, and contact hitters who don’t strike out 200 times to negate their 30 home runs.

The Red Sox manufacture runs with speed the way few teams do these days. Speed keeps pitchers off balance. It capitalizes on opponent weaknesses like noodle-armed catchers and outfielders, and pitchers with slow deliveries. The league will start to remember how valuable speed is. Maybe sabermetrics doesn’t support it enough yet, but it will come back and the Mets need to get on board. We need more Rosarios and fewer Jay Bruces. To get this franchise back to winning, our new GM needs to improve our team speed and pitch selection like the Red Sox, our roster depth like the Dodgers and, most importantly, our talent evaluation, so that, like both World Series teams, we can field a competitive team of complete players.

37 comments on “What separates the Mets from these World Series teams?

  • nickel7168

    What separates the two WS teams from the Mets is the same thing that separates them from the other 27 teams that are not there this year (BTW, the Astros were better than LA too). Only the best team wins and there are 29 also rans. This year, that once again includes the Mets…and the Skankees, Astros, Cubs, Brewers, etc. Without the outrageously big bucks approach LA, Bost (and others take), LA doesn’t acquire Machado and even get there and Bosox don’t acquire Martinez and even get there (and past Astros). That’s the biggest difference I see…a $230 M budget and what that buys you. Amazing orgs. like Oakland, who have a great approach, can”t get past that either.

  • David Klein

    Looks like Van Wagenen is in the lead I rather take the guy with fourteen years of experience and success over a guy with no experience taking over an incredibly difficult job.

  • Mike Walczak

    Teams have windows of opportunity. The windows can be quite small because of free agency and large contract obligations. The stars have to align for teams to win the world series. The Red Sox have great young players who are early in their career. They hit a home run by adding JD Martinez.

    Except for the best such as deGrom, Scherzer, Kershaw and Sale, starting pitchers are an unreliable bunch. The way to overcome that is to build a killer bullpen with a few flame throwers.Even the best starters are only pitching six innings a game. Its crazy ti see Joe Kelly hit triple digits.

    Conforto is a good young player, but still needs to prove himself over a full season. Where is our Betts, Boegarts, Bradley and Benitendi?

    We have to stop kidding ourselves and be realistic with what to expect from our farm system.

    In the old days, it was exciting to have a really good young player come up from the minors. Now, we have Alonso, who in the past probably would have been brought up already. Now, the business end of it comes into play and dictates when a player may be brought up.

    Over the next few years, the Mets will have decisions to make on their big three starters. They will cost a lot of money and limit spending in other areas. Lets say the big three get 70 million a year, 25 for deGrom, 25 for Syndergaard and 20 for Wheeler. That is a ton of money to have the same staff that we have now for much less.

    It is a quandary that all teams face.

    I am happy to be rid of the junk players whose contracts just expired. I like change. As much as we like Wilmer, the game requires more athletic and versatile bench players. Id be very happy to ditch Bruce and Frazier too.

    I am very happy and hopeful to be getting a new GM. Lets see what he can do.

  • Pete from NJ

    I like Matt’s analysis so the new GM needs to set a long term strategic vision. I quote:”…fleet footed players who can take an extra base and contact hitters who don’t strike out 200 time to negate their 30 homeruns…”

    Seems like a long road ahead for the faithful considering when the young fleeted ones arrive the starters might have reached their expiration dates.

    Good luck Brodie.

  • nickel7168

    Every sportswrier and blogger, picking an easy target and sh*tting all over the Mets (you are all so talented), seem to suggest that their org. June draft and the Int’l draft have been below avg. like forever. Let’s compare them to the Red Sox…

    2010 Bosox drafted the most HS players in MLB, 32,hoping to make a bigger splash with higher upsides. I believe not one of these players is on the team.

    The Boston Red Sox got lucky selecting Betts in the 5th round of the 2011 draft after 171 picks had gone by…not exactly a crystal ball.]
    Andrew Benintendi and Matt Barnes were 1st round picks.
    Xander Bogaerts was an undrafted free agent.
    Rafael Devers was an undrafted free agent.
    Jackie Bradley Jr. was the 40th overall pick in the 2011 draft
    Most of th rest of the team are 30+ veterans acquired as free agents or in trades.

    MLB First Round Draft Picks – Boston Red Sox
    2018 Triston Casas IF American Heritage School (FL) 26
    2017 Tanner Houck RHP Missouri 24
    2016 Jason Groome LHP Barnegat (New Jersey) High School 12
    2015 Andrew Benintendi OF Arkansas 7
    2014 Michael Chavis 3B Sprayberry HS, Marietta, Ga. 26
    2013 Trey Ball LHP New Castle (Ind.) High School 7
    2012 Brian Johnson LHP Florida 31
    2012 Deven Marrero SS Arizona State 24
    2011 Blake Swihart C Cleveland High School 26
    2011 Matt Barnes RHP Connecticut 19
    2010 Kolbrin Vitek 2B Ball State 20
    2010 Bryce Brentz OF Middle Tennessee State 36
    2010 Anthony Ranaudo RHP Louisiana State University 39
    2009 Reymond Fuentes OF Fernando Callejo HS, Manati, PR 28
    2008 Casey Kelly SS Sarasota (Fla.) H.S. 30

    MLB First Round Draft Picks – New York Mets
    2018 Jarred Kelenic, OF Waukesha West (Wis.) HS 6
    2017 David Peterson, LHP Oregon 20
    2016 Justin Dunn RHP Boston College 19
    2016 Anthony Kay LHP Connecticut 31
    2014 Michael Conforto OF Oregon State 10
    2013 Dominic Smith 1B JSerra Catholic, Capistrano, Calif. 11
    2012 Gavin Cecchini SS Barbe (La.) High School 12
    2011 Brandon Nimmo RF East High School 13
    2010 Matt Harvey RHP North Carolina 7
    2008 Ike Davis 1B Arizona State 18
    2008 Reese Havens SS Univ. of South Carolina 22

    Four of the Mets draftees were on the Mets in 2018 and Cecchini would have been if not injured, and the four most recent draftees are very highly regarded. The Mets have also been active and successful in the Int’l draft and at their Dom. Rep. academy.
    My point is that the draft is a major crap shoot annually, and anyone who has had superior results mostly got lucky.

    • Brian Joura

      Bogaerts (Aruba) and Devers (Dominican Republic) were both international signings, with Devers being considered one of the top guys in his class.

  • Met fan 4ever

    Speed and defense especially up the middle is what us dinosaur fans were raised on. I support analytics but it seems that speed and especially defense are undervalued by it.

  • nickel7168

    top international signings….

    As are the Mets SS, Ahmed Rosario, former #1 prospect
    Andres Gimenez, SS, current #1 prospect

    What’s your point regarding the topic here?
    Are the Bosox doing something here that the Mets are not doing?

    • MattyMets

      Nickel, maybe you’re of the belief that it’s more about player development than scouting and talent evaluation. There’s a valid argument either way. But whichever you credit/blame, compare Betts/Bogaerts/ Benetendi/Devers to Conforto/Rosario/Nimmo/Smith and it’s pretty lopsided.

      • Brian Joura

        It’s lopsided because of one player.

        Betts had an MVP year, easily his best year in the majors. But in 2015 and 2017, he had better numbers but in the same ballpark that Bogey/Benny/Nimmo did this year.

        In 2018, it’s Bogey/Benny/Devers for a 10.2 fWAR
        And it’s Conforto/Nimmo/Rosario for a 9.0 fWAR

        Advantage Red Sox but not one I would frame as overwhelming.

        If Betts has a year equivalent to 2015 and 2017, Conforto hits for a full year like he did the second half of 2018, Devers and Rosario improve similarly and we include drafted McNeil instead of Smith – maybe the numbers are closer in 2019. That’s a lot of “ifs” and I certainly wouldn’t wager on that happening. But it’s one of many reasonable potential outcomes.

    • Brian Joura

      You presented the two Red Sox players as if they weren’t good enough to be drafted. I pointed out that the reason that they were non-drafted free agents is that they were international guys not eligible for the draft. Maybe you knew this. Maybe you thought it was clear from what you wrote. It wasn’t clear. My response was to add clarity to the situation not to make you defensive or hostile.

      I’ve written extensively about the draft and what to expect and how we should look at what Sandy Alderson has produced. I’ve also looked at the international results for both Alderson and Minaya. Here are two stories from earlier this year that you might (or might not) find interesting.

      Jared Kelenic and Sandy Alderson’s draft history –
      Omar Minaya’s failure in international signings hurts club today –

      • nickel7168

        I wasn’t being defensive or hostile…it’s hard to sense tone in written messages. I agree with your two previous articles, which are good and help to prove my point, which was, that the best team in baseball did not build their team through the June draft and that they (and most other teams) have not drafted significantly better than the Mets. They have signed better and much more expensive free agents, and traded for much more expensive veterans. IMO, that’s the difference between the Mets and the two teams in the WS.

  • Mike Walczak

    I like 85 Cardinals baseball. Lots of running and stolen bases with Jack Clark in the four spot.

    • MattyMets

      Mike W – that’s what envisioned when we opened CitiField. A pitcher friendly park and a team built around pitching, speed and defense. We had the foundation in place but instead of Whitey Herzog’s Cardinals, Alderson wanted Earl Weaver’s Orioles. So we moved the fences in and got rid of players like Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan and replaced them with one dimensional power hitters. Alderson believes in walks and homers but triples, steals and highlight plays in field can win a lot of games.

  • TJ

    4-5 significant additions, solid health, and some good baseball fortune (ala 2015).

  • Chris F

    What separates the Mets from these World Series teams?

    A million miles.

    • Chris F

      …perhaps as much as 1AU

  • BK

    As always, let’s start with bad ownership.

  • b

    crying towel and move on to something else

  • NYM6986

    The Mets rarely jump into free agency and try to grab the cream of the crop. How much better might we have been to get Lorenzo Cain over Jay Bruce? Or making the big trade like that for Gary Carter? With our starting staff we are able to stay close in most games but lack the run production from 1B, catcher and 3B. The draft, past the first 2-3 rounds is a crap shoot and I prefer college kids over HS prospects because they usually help the big team more quickly. We are a few pieces away from being a playoff team especially playing in such a weak division. Would target Kimbral for a closer, and the best right handed bat available. Would not trade the big four or Lugo or Gmail. Hoping for a better outcome in 2019.

    • nickel7168

      “We are a few pieces away from being a playoff team especially playing in such a weak division. Would target Kimbral for a closer, and the best right handed bat available. Would not trade the big four or Lugo or Gmail. Hoping for a better outcome in 2019.”

      Agree completely…perhaps Alonso is a big right handed bat in addition to whoever else we get.

      • Chris F

        Welcome to 79-83 wins. The denial of reality is unreal. The Braves are better and getting better and loaded with $; so are the Phillies. Even the Nats are much better still, even if Harper leaves. The Marlins suck for real. The NL East may be weak, but this team is one of the reasons its weak.

        • TJ

          Chris, my fellow Met fan, what do you think Alonso can do in the bigs next year?

          • Chris F

            Thats a hard call TJ. Look, Im excited about him as much as anyone. But we need to appreciate he’s never seen major league pitching. So right now, its not clear when he is going to be a Met, if ever. Ultimately Im not sure how provide a decent answer given the string of unknowns around him. I will say this, I think it is dangerous to presume what we’ve seen just immediately translates.

            He wont be Freddy Freeman.

            • Met fan 4ever

              Bellinger,Hoskins, Judge…maybe? Just imagine if…

              • Chris F

                sure, I dream like anyone, but until he plays, its all a dream.

            • nickel7168

              How do you know “He wont be Freddy Freeman.”

              That’s what Sept. call-ups and Spring Training are for… see what he can do vs ML pitchers. I understand the FO reasons for Sept and having him focus on the AFL. So, that leaves us with a long ST (for hitters) to see if he can make the team as the 1B (or platoon w Bruce or Smith). Did Freddy Freeman look as good in AA & AAA? I can tell you he didn’t…
              AA 149 AB 2 HR 24 RBI
              AAA 482 AB 18 HR 91 RBI
              ATL 571 AB 21 HR 76 RBI (2011 Rookie…wow the ABs)

              Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

              • Chris F

                Because the hubris involved in imagining that a minor leaguer will enter the big leagues and become an MVP is beyond reason, thats why.

                • nickel7168

                  you’re joking right?
                  When did Freeman win an MVP, Gold Glove, WS, Batting, HR, or RBI title?

                  • Chris F

                    umm, no. I encourage you to look at Freeman’s numbers every year he’s been a pro.

              • TexasGusCC

                I would have expected the editor to fix how you all refer to Mr. Freeman. Around here we call him F—ing Freddie Freeman.

                • Chris F

                  Rattling around my head is the realization that we have absolutely nothing on the field like him.

            • TJ

              No team ever knows for sure with a prospect until proven in the bigs, but there are countless cases of young players stepping in a contributing. Looking at the 2019 Mets, and their need for a RH power bat without Cespedes, if the team brass thinks there is a good chance Alonso can provide that (given independent projections of his hit tool), the lineup is immediately lengthened. Adding him at no cost plus Ramos with an improved Rosario to the lefty bats and spending in the bullpen puts them in the NL East mix.

              • Chris F

                Ill believe it when I see it. Ive heard the same thing year after year after year (I refer you to Jennifer’s excellent posts today)…a big bat and a pen arm. Well this team has been a fantastic disappointment except for a single very lucky run. Show. Me. The. Money.

                Until then this, remains a sub .500 team with a lot of “if this”, and “if that”. Only Mets fans can look at what actually transpired and see something wildly different. Sandy fed us that BS year after year…we’re closer than you think, if those close game just have another run and we win them, our pythagorean record is better than our actual record. Im 100% done buying that baloney.

      • Mike Walczak

        Besides the junk that we ditched by expiring contracts, dump Flores. We have Flores II to replace him (Frazier).

        I would go all out to dump Bruce. Same for Vargas, but I doubt anyone would take him.

        If the Mets want to win now, they need to sign Machado, a catcher and several good relief pitchers.

        If they shop from the junk pile, they may have a winning record, but they won’t compete for a title.

        Have to make a move now before the big three get paid or leave.

        Maybe without giant bone spurs, Cespedes will come back earlier than hoped.

        Let’s see what Van Wagenen can do.

    • Met fan 4ever

      FAs signings don’t always work. It might be better to go with young players,players who are athletic rather than FA types who are paid based on what they’ve done in the prime of their careers. Cardinals don’t regret letting Pujols walk, and the Tigers probably regret giving Cabrera his contract.

      • TexasGusCC

        Originally, Cardinals offered Pujols a 7 year deal and had to be relieved that he turned it down. Made the decision to part ways easier.

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