While we wait for the World Series, and the World Series to end and the Hot Stove League to begin, Brian Joura (BJ) and I (CD) touched base to exchange a few thoughts about the Mets, past, present and future.

Chris Dial: Hi Brian. Thirty-five years ago the ball rolled through Buckner’s legs. Do you remember where you were and how it felt?

Brian Joura: I was at N.C. State. My roommate had started to pull for the Red Sox, just to annoy me. He was going on and on about “Home Run Henderson!” He and some of his buddies went out and I stayed in to watch the game in peace. The Mets had dominated all season long and it wasn’t going to bother me so much that they lost but rather that my roommate was going to come home drunk screaming Home Run Henderson.

It’s a little-known fact but I played a key role in the comeback. I was on my couch, and I didn’t move a muscle until the comeback was over. I’m still waiting for my World Series ring.

I’m curious to know your thoughts on the 2021 Mets defense. It seemed so good in the first part of the year, but the numbers were not so rosy the last six weeks or so. Do the Mets have a good defense and those numbers at the end just a small sample thing? Or is it something completely different?

CD: First things first: I had just started graduate school at UT-Knoxville, and was out having a few, and when they came back, well, I danced in the street, and I always recall it was snowing, but it was really that misty rain that flutters like snow. I was new in town, so I didn’t know anyone else that really loved baseball. So, I celebrated alone dancing in the street.

The 2021 Mets defense was good in places and rocky in the places we knew it would be. Lindor is as terrific as advertised. Baez is terrific as advertised, although he didn’t have innings with the Mets to do much above average. Alonso is not a good fielder, but he’s only slightly below average, and hits enough to carry that. Conforto is a solid fielder with a good arm. Third base, left field and center field are all problematic. Nimmo actually improved this season. Third base and left field were about twenty runs below average (among all the players). I have to say Jeff McNeil handled 2B sufficiently.

The biggest issue with looking at any specific period of performance is the sample size. The defensive chances won’t even out over 700 innings. When we are looking at how someone will do later, their trend is important over a couple of seasons.

What is the latest status on deGrom, and given his injury description, is it something pitchers have successfully bounced back from? Does the cloud over his arm enhance the need to sign Syndergaard?

BJ: The whole deGrom thing is just … curious. Is it really all about semantics? Are we really to believe that a sprain = partially torn ligament? We watched Seth Lugo pitch for years with an elbow that wasn’t quite right. Perhaps deGrom can do the same. My opinion is that there isn’t enough solid information in the public domain to make any firm judgments. It would be nice if deGrom came back strong after an offseason of rest and rehabilitation. Maybe that’s the wishful thinking plan but until we hear something new, that’s going to be my approach.

As for Syndergaard, my hope is he’s in a Mets uniform in 2022 and beyond. But that comes with a couple of caveats. First, like what was written on Sunday, he’s just not worth $18.4 million for one year at this point in time. He can’t be expected to be more than a league-average starter going into 2022 and those league-average pitchers don’t make the amount of money that the QO brings. And the other is that he’s got to pitch inside more. People get too many good swings against him. Syndergaard must make the hitters move their feet and be hesitant to dive out over the plate.

My last question for you is this: Can you envision a Mets infield with Javier Baez at 2B, Francisco Lindor at SS and Carlos Correa at 3B? Rather than using Steve Cohen’s big wallet to overpay for a league-average starter, my preference is to pay the market rate for stars.

CD: I like your take on deGrom. Fingers are crossed. I echo your sentiments on Thor.

My position on current ownership is about spending. In this era of news cycles and the value of popularity, I can’t see why Cohen would buy the Mets without the intent of becoming a kinder, gentler Steinbrenner. He thinks he’s media savvy. He’s witnessed the pitfalls of being an oafish owner, while also seeing John Henry‘s successes. He certainly intends to do these things, so he needs to surround himself with good advisors. Correa is going to be 27, so he will be worth whatever can be offered. I am worried about the nonsense idea that Lindor’s contract blocks signing him. If you want to make an omelette, you have to break some eggs. Given that, there are quite a few third basemen/shortstop/second basemen who can likely perform at Correa’s level with a much lower contract – Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Kris Bryant, Marcus Semien are all viable options, and that assumes the Mets sign Baez.

Even with Thor and deGrom, do the Mets have a sufficient rotation to get to the division title?

BJ: I think re-signing Marcus Stroman is a much bigger priority than inking Syndergaard. Is deGrom, Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill and David Peterson enough? It depends upon what kind of offense they have. You can win with that rotation but you can’t have an offense that hangs around with the Pirates if you want to reach the playoffs.

One comment on “On Bill Buckner, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Correa

  • Wobbit

    I put Villar and Stroman in the same box, and that is that we have probably seen their best performance over the course of the season and every season from here is down. Villar resorted to his spotty fielding, ran hot and cold at the plate. Overall good season, especially when the team needed him most.

    Stroman was a force… steadier than I ever thought he could be. But if you think he will duplicate that each of the next three years, good luck.

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