My fandom of the New York Mets comes honestly, as my parents are fans of the team themselves. My father grew up a hop, skip and a jump away from Shea Stadium, and has imparted his passion and wisdom of the club upon me. On that note, and given that it was just Father’s Day, I thought that there is no better figure in my life than him to survey the current status of the team. My father has had some pretty remarkable takes over the years, albeit many questionable takes as well. Most notable in recent memory, he touted during Matt Harvey’s early rise to stardom that he should be traded, citing his off-field antics as cause for concern. We argued vividly about a straight swap of Harvey for Joey Votto – with me arguing against it. Look how wrong you can be.
My father isn’t entirely modernized in present day thinking of how to construct and win baseball games, but he’s got a keen eye for the game and has learned from many of the past mistakes that management has made. Here is a series of questions to him, with his responses (noted as ‘DB’) and and also include are my retroactively added perspectives to the matters. He managed to inspire a thought that perhaps Amed Rosario is a viable candidate as a trade piece come the deadline.
Q: What is your biggest concern about the current construction of the team?
DB: The starting pitching, mostly Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. For years we have been told that this team will compete on the arms of the starters however every year there seems to be a different excuse to their inconsistent performance.
CB: Fair point pop, Met’s starters had a combined 19.5 fWAR last year, including a Cy Young winner. In terms of managed expectations, the formidable five have failed to meet or exceed them so far this year. As much as fans can rip apart the bullpen performance, the starting pitchers have not necessarily put the Mets in a position to succeed with a 4.18 ERA on the season
Q: What is your favorite part of the 2019 Mets?
DB: Dominic Smith because when Pete Alonso gets on base, Smith is the first person at the top of the dugout clapping and cheering for the guy who is his direct competitor. To see what he’s done in the matter of a year has been incredible and he has won me over as contributor to this team.
CB: Many other fans would share the same sentiment. Smith has quietly worked his way into a more regular role, is striking out at a reduced rate and walking at a greater rate. He is playing a serviceable outfield as well. When it comes to beloved underdog stories (which is strange to say for a former first round pick), Smith makes us wonder who Wilmer Flores even is.
Q: Will Mickey Callaway be fired by the end of the year?
DB: Absolutely. The manager is always the first to go and will ultimately bear the blame for poor performance. That’s part of the business, especially in New York. Sometimes it’s unfortunate but ownership will be more apt to giving the GM a longer leash than the manager.
CB: Perhaps we all collectively failed to manage our expectations when a former pitching coach, of which his counterparts have not particularly fared well, was hired for the job. Callaway seems overmatched for the National League, New York City, and leadership at all.
Q: Who is a trade deadline candidate that you’d like to see go?
DB: I think that we have seen enough of Rosario to get a sense of what he can provide. Maybe the club’s internal scouts know more than we can see, but Rosario hasn’t shown all five tools in full swing. Besides, there’s also that prospect in AA who can field better than he can who is waiting in his shadows.
CB: My dad brings up a fair point here. While it’s difficult to grasp the idea that a team can go from “Come and get us” to “Come and check out our clearance rack”, it’s important to consider the full depth of potential assets that can be moved. Trading someone like Rosario, who has clear prospects behind him waiting to contribute in Andres Gimenez and Ronny Mauricio, could make sense at a certain point. I for one, was in favor of moving Rosario for J.T. Realmuto in the offseason and would not be against moving the young shortstop for more assets.
Gimenez, who is the Mets number one rated prospect according to MLB.com, is having a down year in Binghamton after a trip to the All-Star Futures game last year. He has recently come off the Injured List hot, going 4 for 9 with a triple, two doubles and a stolen base since his return. Met fans surely remember the hype around Lastings Milledge, who was mentioned in potential trades that could have landed the Mets a superstar but ended up petering out after a few years with the major league club. If the right deal, say for high profile pitching prospect or center fielder, came along then I would not be against moving Rosario while the iron is still hot.