Over at FanGraphs, they published the median projected standings right now in the National League, according to the ZiPS projections. Now, this comes with the caveat that there are some big free agents still out there – no, the Mets are not going to sign one of those – that could shift things around. But as it stands right now, the Mets finish with 83 wins and claim the third Wild Card spot.
That seems like a reasonable forecast to me. It’s probably a win or two higher than I’d go, but nothing outrageous. And, of course, if the Mets are in the thick of the Wild Card race near the trade deadline, it seems likely that they would pull the trigger to add a necessary part or two. Last year they were trading away an old guy doing well on an expiring contract for a lottery ticket IFA player. It’s easy to see them on the other side of the equation this year if everything breaks right.
The text with the article had only this to say about the Mets – “ZiPS doesn’t think the Mets did enough to patch up their rotation, but if their starting pitchers are better than expected, they should contend for a wild card.”
My opinion is that the Mets have reasonable alternatives for the starting rotation should the projected starters flop. Instead, my worry is that they stick too long with under-performing players, whether they be pitchers or hitters. If they want to be serious contenders for a playoff spot, they can’t give 730 PA to two guys under the Galvis Line or 18 starts to a guy with a 6.65 ERA.
It’s tough to know when to stop giving playing time to a guy who’s struggling. It’s not like you can say if he doesn’t do it by May 1, he won’t do it at all. Yet it’s one of the things that the Braves are really good at doing. They don’t give 300 or more PA to guys who are stinking up the joint, especially outfielders. Instead, they’ll rotate thru options until they hit on one that works, even if that means calling up a guy from Double-A.
Are David Stearns and Carlos Mendoza the right combo to make the tough decisions? They’re both in the honeymoon phase right now. But they shouldn’t expect that to last very long. The natives will get restless if some combination of Harrison Bader, Brett Baty, Starling Marte and Mark Vientos have a sub-80 OPS+ after 150 PA.
Let’s hope that the manager and front office are up for this particular challenge.