Casey Stengel’s five and four applied to the 2019 Mets

Casey Stengel is a beloved figure in Mets history. Shoot, my daughter Casey may or may not be named after him. Stengel was a baseball lifer. Those guys always get my respect but the difference between Stengel and your typical guy who stays involved in the game for 50-plus years was his wit and his intelligence.

Perhaps my favorite Stengel quote is this one:

“The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven’t made up their mind.”

Although all of us failed in our quest to be the Mets’ manager, let’s see if we can apply this quote to our fandom. Who are the five guys you don’t like – you know, there’s too much “hate” in the world – and who are the four guys you haven’t made up your mind about? Here’s my list:

Five guys

Gerson Bautista – In the movie “Good Will Hunting,” there’s a scene where Robin Williams’ character finally has a breakthrough with Matt Damon’s character and he tells him over and over again, “It’s not your fault.” While it feels like that applies to Bautista – it’s not his fault he was in the majors when he clearly didn’t belong there – the memory of opposing batters playing the role of the Gas House Gorillas in the conga line around the basepaths against the ineffective pitcher for the Tea Totallers is just too much for me to shake.

Wilmer Flores – He can’t field, he can’t throw and he can’t run. And the bat doesn’t make up for all of the things he can’t do. There’s another Stengel quote which applies here – “I don’t like them fellas who drive in two runs and let in three.”

Juan Lagares – Watching him charge balls in the outfield and throw on the run is a treat. But waching his inability to add anything offensively besides singles has been a major disappointment. Maybe the fly ball approach will pay off this year. But my advice would be not to hold your breath.

Jacob Rhame – It’s great to throw hard but you’ve got to bring something to the table besides that. A 1.573 WHIP and a 2.2 HR/9 simply do not inspire confidence.

Paul Sewald – My freshman roommate in college was an excellent basketball player. He was a student at NCSU but he really should have played at a lower level D I school. His friends told me that his high school coach had it in for him and that racism was likely the reason why. Anyway, there was one basketball court in the gym where the top guys played and whenever Donald played, he was the best guy on the court. Around 95% of the guys on the court were black but there was one white guy who played there regularly. Not sure if he was much older or just prematurely gray but we used to call him gramps. For whatever reason, Donald kind of liked gramps, even though he had no business playing on that court. And Sewald is like gramps. He may have the moxie to play with the big guys but he just doesn’t have the talent.

Four Guys

Kevin Plawecki – My take on Plawecki is that when he sets up in the batter’s box, he looks like a hitter. But the results haven’t been there. But he’s gone from a guy who couldn’t throw a ball to a base without bouncing it to a guy who makes pretty decent throws. So maybe he can turn things around in the batter’s box, too.

Dominic Smith – In a way he’s like Lucas Duda in that he just needs a chance to play every day and be left alone and let his talent shine through. But it’s hard to be a big advocate when he’s done so little in the majors and there’s a better prospect at the same position just about ready for his shot in The Show.

Jason Vargas – It seems weird to be on the fence about a guy who’s been in the majors as long as Vargas has. But I understand the logic about the signing and what made it a reasonable idea last year still applies today, even with the horrific performances we witnessed for about two-thirds of last season. That lousy performance should be enough to put him in the “Five Guys” category. But he was really good his last eight starts and thus the dilemma.

Daniel Zamora – While there’s too much hate in the world, I can’t get past using that word to describe my feelings for the LOOGY gambit. Zamora, a lefty, appeared in 16 games and totaled 9 IP. If given a chance, can Zamora get RHB out, too? In 17 PA against righties last year, he limited them to a .466 OPS so maybe he can. Hopefully there will be a culture change with a brand new GM and a relatively new manager and Zamora can get the opportunity to be a reliever sent in regardless of what batter is due up at the plate.

10 comments for “Casey Stengel’s five and four applied to the 2019 Mets

  1. Pete from NJ
    November 18, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I would have placed Gerson in the 2nd grouping since he’s 23 years old and threw 4 big league innings.

    And Brian, do you think the front office hates Juan and Wilmer as much as you do? If so Wilmer won’t be offered a contract and Juan gets shipped off at below market price. Yet I think they both stay and perform a secondary role somewhere on the team.

    • Mike Walczak
      November 18, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      It’s too bad we didn’t have a player named Wilmer Lagares.

    • November 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      We’re trying to move away from “hate.”

      My expectation is that both Flores and Lagares will be on the Opening Day roster. Hope I’m wrong.

      • Mike Walczak
        November 18, 2018 at 8:27 pm

        Flores needs to go to the AL. Let’s not forget about Lagares’ new and improved swing. I agree with Bryan. Would prefer to see them both go.

  2. MattyMets
    November 18, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Nice post Brian, but I imagine it would have been more fun if Hansel Robles was still on the roster.

    A good thing about a fresh front office is they’ll be less likely to hang on to clubhouse guys and fan favorites who aren’t performing.

    • November 18, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      In the past I stood up some for Robles. But by the end, even I had jumped ship.

  3. TexasGusCC
    November 18, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Whenever you are supervising a group, you know what to expect from each person. Some will give more and some less, but as long as you get what you think they each should be giving, you need to accept it. With that mindset, my five “not likes”:

    Frazier: A third baseman that can’t hit: how pathetic. He hit .213 two years in a row, and cant figure out that right field is his friend.

    TDA: We have been told that he has put in the time to improve, but where’s the proof?

    Sewald: Brian said it better.

    Nido: He’s 24, we should be seeing a sign. Instead, we have sub-Mendoza line.

    Swarzak: A stiff in the linage of Frankie Frank, Shaun Marcum, and too many to name at this time because we couldn’t spend one million more per year to get a real reliever.

    The four I’m still considering
    :
    Bruce: For Bruce to be on this list and not the first list is a testament to his efforts to hit to LF and become a better hitter. Again, not his fault he sucks, but at least he’s actually trying to improve. Finally!

    Dom Smith: Another player (Robles was the first) that I referred to as a ten cents brain, he is actually showing flashes of a clue by the season’s end and has put in the work to learn LF.

    Plawecki: I don’t call him Charlie O’Brien-lite for nothing, he started turning on pitches with a little authority late in the year. Let’s see if it continues.

    Vargas: A Thanksgiving truth, I actually endorsed the Vargas signing (can you believe a teacher from Arizona has told me that they aren’t allowed to use Thanksgiving in schools but will refer to it as Friendsgiving?) but was not happy with even the good results down the stretch as I wasn’t seeing innings. If Jason can’t get it together early on, we need to make him a LOOGY and tie him to Swarzak when we throw them into the Hudson.

  4. Name
    November 19, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Most everyone thinks that Gsellman is a keeper but i still think he’s an enigma.

    He goes unnoticed in the Mets pen in 2018 because when you have 6 guys who had 5+ ERAs, Gsellmen’s below average 4.28 ERA doesn’t look too bad.

    He is super inconsistent. – He had 2 months of sub 1.80 ERA and 2 months of 6.50+ ERA. No consecutive months were alike –
    April: 1.80 ERA
    May: 4.58 ERA
    June: 6.59 ERA
    July: 4.22 ERA
    August: 1.54 ERA
    September: 7.11 ERA

    He doesn’t miss a ton of bats, and it’s not like he has great control either – not sure why he gets a free pass from the fans and media. In an ideal scenario he should be coming into camp fighting for a roster spot.

  5. José
    November 21, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Oh Em Gee! You actually recall that Conga-line bit from a Bugs Bunny cartoon? Damn, you be old… But don’t you dare say anything about me for remembering that same cartoon!

    • November 21, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      In my defense, I remember it from Saturday morning cartoons in the 70s and not when it was released in 1946

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