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The Usual Suspects

On Saturday we threw a party to watch the Belmont Stakes. I enjoyed the bourbon a little too enthusiastically, fell asleep before the Mets starting playing and woke up hours after the game was over.

It was the best Mets experience of my week.

Today’s game wasn’t quite as infuriating a gag job as Saturday’s, but it followed the all-too-familiar recipe [1]: not enough hitting, dopey baserunning, and bad defense, followed by excuse-making from the manager. If the Mets were a game of Clue, the revelation would be that everyone killed them, in every room, with every weapon. The Mets don’t lose with such numbing regularity because they’re consistently bad at one aspect of baseball; they lose like that because they’re consistently bad at multiple aspects of baseball.

And help is not on the way — the farm system has some hitting talent at the lower levels, but those players are all probably two years away. There’s no position player waiting in the wings a la Noah Syndergaard [2]. No blue-chipper is wearing out pitchers in Las Vegas and clamoring for playing time in New York. Instead, we have guys we counted on to produce at the major-league level going back down a rung to get themselves figured out.

What the Mets do have is an abundance of talented starting pitchers — as I’ve written before, the team could go to spring training next year with 10 guys worthy of a spot in a big-league rotation. Even with elbows exploding across baseball and young pitchers being maddeningly unpredictable, that’s a surplus. And given that the Mets have a glaring deficit of decent bats, I find it impossible to believe the front office won’t move a number of those pitchers for hitters who are close to big-league ready.

If Sandy Alderson trades wisely, the Mets’ future could look a lot more promising in a hurry. (Personally, I’d start the dealing with Jon Niese [3] and Jeurys Familia [4].) But the most opportune time to make such a deal is probably late July, meaning we have another six weeks of hideous baseball to endure.

Since I don’t recommend nightly sessions with Dr. Bourbon, how can those six weeks be made more bearable?

The Mets actually already took the first step by sending Travis d’Aranud down to get his mind clear and/or to get him the 500-odd Triple-A at-bats he might have needed in the first place. I’m a fan of d’Arnaud’s, but I was still glad to see that happen — he was lost at the plate and looked like he was trying to carry the franchise on his shoulders. Hopefully he can get well away from the bright lights.

What’s next?

How about declaring an end to the Chris Young [5] experiment? Young wasn’t a terrible bet to rebound, but he hasn’t and you can’t say it’s a small sample size anymore. And he was never a part of the future, just a bridge to it, a la Kyle Farnsworth [6] and Jose Valverde [7]. So Farnsworth him and give the at-bats he’s wasting to Bobby Abreu [8] (a bridge piece who’s earned those ABs), or better yet to Andrew Brown [9], Eric Campbell [10] or Matt den Dekker [11]. (And not to Pinch Runner Deluxe Eric Young [12] Jr. when he returns, a date I’m not pining for.)

Second, find a place for Wilmer Flores [13] to play. If it’s shortstop, let him play there for six weeks as a Met and see if he can do it. If it’s second base, send him to Vegas and call him up after the inevitable Daniel Murphy [14] trade. If it’s third, first or DH, trade the poor guy. But give him a position already.

Third, and directly related, no more kids on the bench. Flores needs to start. Same goes for Campbell, who’s followed the usual Terryland path from hot hand to guy you forget’s on the roster. (Somewhere Josh Satin [15] is shaking his head sadly.) Brown got regular ABs in Vegas and was tearing it up; he looks good right now but won’t when he’s playing once a week. Enough already.

Third … well, I don’t know what’s third. Six more weeks of hopeless baseball, I suppose, with the Mets done in by all the usual suspects, with all the available weapons, in every room of the mansion.

Ugh. Paging Dr. Bourbon.