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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Leading the League in Agita

The Mets, for all the agita surrounding them, went to the other side of a fair continent and returned with a 4-2 trip. That’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty far from bad.

So why are so many Mets fans — most definitely including me — so prone to rending of garments, gnashing of teeth and other emo displays?

I keep poking at that during this baffling year. As with most things, I suspect there are a lot of contributing factors: anger at the Wilpons for years of penurious ways (bad) and habitual dishonesty about the direction of payrolls (worse); frustration at seeing a promising start against a weak field eroded by injuries and bad luck; the echo-chamber effect of today’s 24-7 Twitter carping (cleverer than talk radio but perhaps equally corrosive); and the emotional see-saw of following a team that’s a weird mix of superb and awful.

Speaking for myself, I think a big part of my frustration is that superb pitching paired with awful hitting is a reminder of what could be if only the Mets weren’t so painfully out of balance in terms of talent (and, OK, luck). The Mets have 12 losses this year that would have been wins if they’d scored four runs, including four 1-0 losses. I won’t claim this is science, but give them those wins and they’d be 56-30, and anyone carping about the subpar defense would be pitied for their inability to ever be happy.

The Mets, as is often the case, didn’t help the reduce agita levels with a pregame mess. Michael Cuddyer hurt his knee June 28, an injury the Mets initially described as not serious — “a bright spot,” Terry Collins said. Cuddyer then didn’t play until July 3, played four games in a row after that (going 2 for 12 at the plate), and now hasn’t played the last two days. The Mets played short for nearly a week, sent Cuddyer back out there with poor results, then played short again. The knee will be looked at when the Mets return to New York, and if you’re betting there’s a DL stint coming, you clearly know your Mets.

None of this is new — here’s Jared Diamond of WSJ describing what’s happened just in 2015 with the Mets and diagnosing injuries. And let’s recall Jerry Manuel way back in 2009, addressing the subject of an injury to Gary Sheffield: “They’re calling it cramps … surgery on Thursday.” (Manuel then pleaded for Kevin Burkhardt to delete the footage.) Like stabbing departing players in the back, this has been going on too long to blame on the same manager or GM; it doesn’t take an enormously talented detective to deduce what the source of the problem is.

But wait a minute, weren’t we talking about a 4-2 trip? Indeed we were, and today’s game lived up to the Just Imagine formula fantasized about above. The Mets got four runs, the first two on a Giants error and a fielder’s choice, the last two on a homer from Eric Campbell, whose starting assignment at Kirk Nieuwenhuis‘s expense had been derided by everybody including — oddly and ill-advisedly — whoever runs social media for the Las Vegas 51s. (I was among them, though Campbell vs. Nieuwenhuis isn’t exactly the second coming of Williams vs. DiMaggio debates.)

But as usual, the thing to watch was the pitching, and Jacob deGrom was superb. DeGrom is just a pleasure to watch: He starts like a dart-thrower, hand behind his glove, then explodes into a flurry of praying-mantis limbs that come whipping at the batter, one long arm flying towards home seemingly from behind his head. (And post-Tommy John, thank goodness.) A foot flying into the air signals the end of this unlikely wheeling of arms and legs, followed by an almost abashed step in the direction of first.

It looks chaotic, but it’s not — deGrom was essentially untouchable today, throttling the Giants over eight innings before giving away to a less-stellar but perfectly effective Jeurys Familia. And with that the Mets are heading back home, to whatever comes next in this strange, strange season.

The Mets will go on, but the next nine games will be without me — I’m off to Italy. Be nice to Mr. Prince, y’hear?

62 comments to Leading the League in Agita

  • Daniel Hall

    Thought process for yesterday was “Well, it’s a 3:45 start, it’s gonna be well past midnight when they’re done, but I can always marvel at Hair Boy a bit.” – and marvelling I did. Thank heavens he’s on our side!

    I would have sent him out for the ninth though, since the Giants had zero going against him, and especially after the home run in the top 9th, and *especially* with him not pitching in a proper game again for at least 10 days. The Robster made it unnecessarily tense in his place… At least they finished in 2:28.

  • Eric

    Nice bounce-back game by deGrom. It puts to rest the concern that the 6-man rotation is throwing him out of sorts.

    Parnell’s outing was typical of pre-Familia closers and served as a reminder to appreciate Familia.

  • meticated

    Is there baseball in Florence? …The DaVincis? …

  • Dave

    TC should’ve let Young Jacob finish the first half with a, what do they call those things again, oh yeah, a complete game shutout, but if that was the biggest problem of the day, we’re in good shape. Goes to show us all, funny game, this baseball. deGrom was a marginal prospect at best, and he’s overtaken at least 3 guys we all had pegged as future Cy Young winners. What a joy to watch.

    And Mets fans being Mets fans, in a couple of years we can all start rending garments and gnashing teeth worried that they won’t be willing or able to sign him.

    • Eric

      Innings limit. The inning short of the manager-denied CG-SO paid for the inning deGrom will pitch in the all-star game.

      I’m being facetious, but I do believe team management, including the front office, is bean-counting the starters’ innings and pitches and Collins prefers to shave them wherever he can. The reliability of Familia helps, as long as a middle reliever doesn’t blow the bridge.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Collins said that he had already told deGrom he wasn’t going out for the 9th inning when deGrom came into the dugout after the bottom of the 8th. This was in response to a question to Collins about why he didn’t let deGrom start the 9th with a 4 run lead. Reading between the lines, this of course means that Collins was as surprised as anyone that his team scored 2 runs in the top of the 9th.

    I guess the poster-boy for Mets injuries diagnosed as day-to-day is Ike Davis. He trips over the mound (or David Wright, or a combination of both) early in 2011 and as far as I can tell, he still hasn’t recovered.

    Oh, PS: I read the article about the “benching” of Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Here’s a quote:
    “Also, for what it’s worth, the benching of Kirk Nieuwenhuis had no impact on the outcome of Wednesday’s game”.

    Um, I think his replacement hit a 2 run home run, if I remember correctly.

  • argman

    Well-timed vacation around the All-Star game. Buon Viaggio.

  • LA Jake

    Fantastic road trip. If asked what was more likely, 0-6 or 4-2, I’m pretty sure most of us would’ve said the former. Amazing what great pitching will do for a team.

    Nice to see deGrom’s hit and run single.
    Nice to see Lagares get the insurance run home despite falling behind 0-2 in count.
    Nice to see Eric Campbell get some hits including the Mets first HR since 1986.
    Nice to see the other team’s baserunning blunder.
    Nice to see Totally Clueless managing to a stat. (Just checking to see if you were paying attention)
    Nice to see Hunter Pence not catch a flyball and not get a hit every AB.
    Nice to see the team has a legit chance to head to the break on a nice run.

  • Eric

    “emotional see-saw of following a team that’s a weird mix of superb and awful”

    That’s it. Good observation.

    It’s a tug of war every night between the Mets’ special pitching against their poor hitting and shaky fielding.

    When they win, the superb pitching shines and we get to bask in that because the pitchers stood up the run or two squeezed out with much difficulty and stranded runners let on base due to shaky fielding.

    Almost as often, when they lose, the awful hitting and shaky fielding are the reasons, highlighted because the pitching was good enough to win but for the team weaknesses.

    It’s hard to think of games that followed another formula.

    • Rob E

      Without digging into the deeper sabermetric stats, the Mets defense ranks 21 out of the 30 teams by fielding pct.(http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/fielding), and their team fielding is .983 vs. the baseball average .984. They ARE near the bottom in double plays (as are the Cardinals, Royals, Nationals, Cubs, and Dodgers). While this is not a great defensive team by any stretch, it’s also not the reason they lose. Not that they haven’t lost games because of bad plays, they have, but EVERYONE has.

      People have villified the defense (and Met announcers have over-criticized it), but the ONLY thing holding this team back is the offense. If they averaged just one more run every two games (which would make them the Cubs), every other perceived Met problem goes away.

      • Eric

        I agree with that. The awful hitting allows so little margin for error, every shortcoming in the field is magnified. Shaky fielding also stands out because it directly hurts the pitching in ways the hitting doesn’t, eg, extraneously driving up closely regulated pitch counts if nothing else.

        It also stands out because the Mets’ worst fielders are Flores and Murphy, yet they’ve played 2 of the key defensive positions for most of the season.

        The 5 tools for position players are hitting for power, hitting for average (+ on base), speed, arm strength (+ accuracy), and fielding, right? Remarkably, the Mets can point to none of the 5 tools as a team strength.

        • Rob E.

          Would you believe that by fielding pct., Mets shortstops (mostly Flores) actually rank 15th out of the 30 teams (ahead of teams like Colorado, SF, and KC)? At 2B they are tied for 19th. The weak spots are actually 3B (dead last) and RF (25th…which I never would have guessed).

          The loss of Wright has had ramifications on both sides of the ball.

      • Dennis

        “People have villified the defense (and Met announcers have over-criticized it), but the ONLY thing holding this team back is the offense. If they averaged just one more run every two games (which would make them the Cubs), every other perceived Met problem goes away.”

        Agreed……that is why the injuries to d’Arnaud & Wright have been so critical. Regardless……great road trip! At least some of the doom & gloom squad here can put away their pitchforks for a few more games.

        • Dave

          Yes, but the inability to score runs reduces the margin of error to next to nothing, therefore defensive lapses are magnified. This team can’t afford to give the other team any extra opportunities to score runs.

  • 9th string catcher

    an·he·do·ni·a – ˌanhēˈdōnēə,-hi-/noun PSYCHIATRY
    inability to feel pleasure.
    See also: Mets fans

    • Eric

      Nah. The “see-saw” theme of Jason’s post is that we take pleasure from the superb pitching but also pain from the awful hitting. They don’t cancel each other out to a void. We feel both.

  • LA Jake

    I’m willing to bet the Mets lead the league in Murphys aka Boneheaded Plays A Little Leaguer Wouldn’t Make. This covers defense and baserunning mistakes (which includes idiotic Tim Teufel decisions as well).

  • Pumpsie

    I note that Capt Kirk has a lower BA than any Met starter; including Gee! Wait, that’s it! He is auditioning to be our LOOGY!

  • Eric

    Ouch. Partially torn lat for Matz. The Mets say out for 3 weeks, but I think that’s the season.

    I think the Mets had already been considering skipping Matz’s 3rd start on Sunday because Niese made an off-hand comment after he beat the Giants on Monday that he was told to be ready to possibly pitch on Sunday.

  • Dave

    How is this team going to score any runs without Matz in the lineup? And we see how well a 6 man rotation protects young pitchers.

    • Eric

      The question used to be, “Are you hurt or are you injured?”

      For Mets players, the answer is “Yes.”

  • sturock

    Steven Matz injured? Has anyone ever seen a team with worse luck than the 2015 Mets? Now we can’t even feel good about a 4-2 road trip vs. the best of the NL West. Anhedonia indeed.

    • Rob E

      It’s not luck. Sit back and watch how the dots will connect back to Terry Collins and the Wilpons.

      • sturock

        I can’t stand the Wilpons either, but what are you saying? They deliberately injured Matz? Someone forced him to pitch his second start while injured? How does that benefit their business?

        Please connect the dots for me.

  • Eric

    Take care of Syndergaard.

  • eric1973

    Is Steven Matz over the hill?
    Stevie, we hardly knew ye.

  • open the gates

    Not sure I can connect the dots. But this is not only a recent phenomenon. It seems like the Mets have been leading the league in injuries for about 10 years now. Add in some well documented cases of medical malfeasance – Ryan Church being told to “man up” over his concussions, David Wright playing half a season with a broken back (which might be connected to this season’s woes, don’t you think?), Carlos Beltran insisting on seeing his own doctors (and the resultant pushback from the team)…this nonsense has been going on forever. And at some point, you can no longer chalk it up to being “snakebit”. This team has a problem with its medical/training/fitness division. Whether it’s a problem with the personnel, or whether the personnel is fine but Li’l Jeffy ignores their recommendations when it suits him, something really smells really fishy in Flushing.

    • Rob E

      I think the pre-Sandy Mets are very different from the post-Sandy Mets. There are a lot of variable here, including marginal players trying to hold on to jobs, and stubborn players hiding injuries or downplaying their severity…AND, yes, medical incompetence.

      If they were really THAT egregiously negligent, wouldn’t SOMEBODY (the players association, or the GM, or the players themselves) be screaming? These are multi-million dollar investments here. As meticulous as Sandy Alderson is, and with what they’ve gone through the past five years, do you really think he’s going to stand there silent while Jeff Wilpon rides Wright and Wheeler and Matz off a cliff? I find that hard to believe.

      You may not want to chalk it up to being snakebit, but to us outsiders, being snakebit and being medically reckless would exhibit the same symptoms. But killing the Wilpons makes for better ratings, as I’m sure we’ll hear all over sports radio later today.

  • mikeL

    ugh!
    that’s all for now.

    that and that i have no faith in the training and medical staff or the front office on these matters.

    and that i do indeed hope 3 weeks really means 3 weeks. time will tell…

    ugh!

    • Rob E

      It’s not three weeks, it’s three weeks he will “refrain from throwing,” as Adam Rubin put it (http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/13230123/new-york-mets-rookie-steven-matz-miss-next-start-lat-injury).

      That puts him into August. At that point, he probably needs another three weeks to rehab. There is no way he just sits out for three weeks and then makes his next start…I would imagine they would be overly cautious here. I DON’T KNOW WHY ADAM RUBIN LEFT THAT OUT OF THE STORY. It is a pretty significant point of communication, and he should know better. And this is how the misinformation train starts rolling. This is the problem with all things Mets…it’s not just the Mets that pour gas on the fire.

      Anyways, that rehab takes Matz close to September. At that point, unless there is a compelling reason to push him, they are going to tread very lightly. So yeah, it’s a very short leap to “season-ending” from there.

      • mikeL

        yes rob, i was aware of the 3 weeks of no baseball activity. my concern was that often these first mileposts in rehab come to pass and we’re left looking towards another milepost…and another. that’s what we can come to expect.
        anything better is what now passes for…wait..

        AMAZIN’

        • Eric

          What’s amazing is that Matz apparently got hurt with 1 start in the majors after pitching – and hitting – in 15 games, 14 starts with Las Vegas.

          That makes me wonder how long Matz’s lat has been bothering him given, apparently, he can pitch through the pain, as he did in his 2nd start. Perhaps Matz hid the injury knowing he could pitch through it but revealing it down there might keep him from being promoted to the majors.

          I speculate because I don’t know the nature of lat injuries and how Matz’s lat was injured. But I wonder how a much-used muscle was injured due to 1 start in the majors after 15 games, 14 starts of using the same muscle the same way at AAA.

          I too believe Matz is most likely done for the season. 3 weeks until reevaluation puts him at the end of July. Best case from there is he progresses from rehab to pitching again by late August, start of September. Given that the lat is a much-used muscle, the depth in the rotation, and the team’s long-term hopes for Matz, it just makes more sense to shut him down for the rest of the season, diagnose how the injury happened, and decide how to prevent it from happening again.

          Is Rafael Montero’s apparently season-ending shoulder injury like Matz’s injury? [Update: Montero has a rotator cuff injury.]

          Along with whether a 6-man rotation and limiting innings and pitch counts actually prevent injury, it seems to me that athletic pitchers praised for ‘fluid’ or ‘smooth’ mechanics are no less injury-prone than pitchers with ‘high stress’ deliveries.

  • Eric

    A justification for not dealing one or more of the young stud starters has been preserving depth against the possibility of attrition. (At the same time, that’s been a reason they’re not wholly untouchable – no guarantee of and no way to predict durability.)

    Well, here we are.

    The starting pitching has been attrited and the preserved depth called upon. From the reservoir of young stud starters that started the season, Wheeler, likely Matz, and apparently Montero are done.

    Mourning the loss of rising ace Matz is normal. It’s a blow, but it is a blow the team was positioned to absorb. The Mets rotation is still staffed by an ace, an ace in recovery, and a rising ace, plus two middle-rotation quality starters on the back end.

    The depth of starters has worked, but the Mets can no longer afford any more injuries to the starting rotation, including Niese and Colon.

  • LA Jake

    Rob E, I’m curious. Is management EVER to blame? You claim we all have agendas especially when it comes to player acquisitions (or the lack thereof) or injuries (and the reporting of them including timetables), but you often seem to find a way to excuse management for what goes wrong. Are the Wilpons not at all responsible for the Mets? Is Sandy Alderson not accountable for anything? It’s just bad luck the team has been terrible for most of the years they have been in charge?

    • Rob E

      I find the “excuse” to give them a pass just as everybody else finds the excuse to blame them for everything.

      To answer your question, yes, they are ABSOLUTELY responsible. And if the world ended today, they would go down among the worst owners in sports history. But there are two incarnations of this franchise, the pre-Madoff/Alderson version and the post-Madoff/Alderson version. They are VASTLY different. The Madoff thing has affected the Mets like no other sports team in history (that is worthy of a book in itself….but that doesn’t mean the Wilpons should sell something they obviously love just to appease us).

      When you look at all the criticism on this board, look at how much of it is emotional carry-over from before Madoff that the Wilpons will just never be forgiven for. They made HORRENDOUS decisions during that era (and yet people scream for them to repeat those same mistakes NOW).

      But since the day Sandy Alderson was hired, this has been almost a textbook organizational rebuild (and that’s exactly what this franchise needed). The organization has gotten healthier each year, even if that didn’t translate into year-to-year improvement in wins, or wasn’t FAST enough to appease the fans and media. And yet, each year the criticism and vitriol just gets worse and worse, and now in 2015, with the BEST team they’ve had in a long time (and with reasonable hope moving forward…and only three games out of first despite the injuries!) they are getting crucified worse than ever! FROM THEIR OWN FANS!! It’s absolutely <> ridiculous. At some point, Met fans have to leave the past behind, and Met fans are clearly not ready to do that.

      If you or anyone else wants to criticize, it’s your right…as long as you have something to back it up. The problem with criticism is that is means nothing when all you DO is criticize. Everyone’s a critic when they lose…when they win, crickets. Terry Collins manages and the Wilpons own even when they win. You wouldn’t know it by reading these posts though.

      If you want to complain about acquisitions (or the lack of), fine…but throw out a solution. A name, SOMETHING! We all know we need hitting…the problem is WHO and HOW. If you want to question the injuries, also fine. But tell me exactly who engineered these injuries through negligence and recklessness? They are guilty of being poor communicators for SURE (they are abysmal), but not EVERY injury can be traced back to something inherent in the organization. Sometimes it just happens, and sometimes it’s inexplicable. We are talking about humans here, not robots.

      If it seems like all I do is make excuses for ownership, it’s only because all I see is people going the other way. And I think that’s unfair. I’ll be the first one to criticize them if I think they compromise the future of the team.

      • Dennis

        Summed up perfectly Rob. I’m in the same boat….especially when the criticism is about Collins. I’ve heard fans claim that he’s responsible for “x” number of losses. Ok….well, I could probably dig up about the same number of games where decisions he has made contributed to a win. So that would leave the Mets exactly where they are right now….44-42. And when there are claims that management is almost intentionally negligent when it comes to their injuries…..well that’s just moronic.

  • Daniel Hall

    Matz is hurt? That’s it. I can’t anymore. I just can’t anymore. I just want to roll up and cry.

    With this team, you are not allowed to have the least little bit of joy. It’s always that one tiny glimmer of hope, and then BAAAMMMM the hammer comes down. And I can’t anymore. I can’t anymore…

  • Steve D

    The Mets have really been four regimes…the Payson regime, The DeRoulet regime, the Doubleday-Wilpon regime and the Wilpons-Katz regime.

    Payson founded the Mets, created a family atmosphere and miraculously they won in 1969. Amazin! A totally different era, but they get eternal gratitude.

    DeRoulet inherited the team, almost ran it into the ground for a brief time, but did us a great favor by selling. They are forgiven in my book.

    Doubleday-Wilpon invested in the team, hired the right people, won in 1986 and almost created a long term, respectable franchise. We must be grateful, as that could be the last championship some of us live to see. They also gave us the Subway Series in 2000.

    The Wilpons-Katz regime started out poorly, then spent a lot of money and almost got us to a World Series. Since that collapsed and Madoff happened, the team has been hard to take. The only joy is a great starting rotation, partly assembled by former GM Omar Minaya. The current regime does not spend money on payroll anymore, does not seem very dynamic and to me its a shame, because we would not be that far from winning if they made some shrewd moves. Injuries and poor free agents are a hallmark of this regime also. Of all the regimes, this has to be the least respected and based on it staying in this family, could turn out to be a long term nightmare.

    • Rob E

      “The current regime does not spend money on payroll anymore…we would not be that far from winning if they made some shrewd moves.”

      Steve, this is exactly what I mean…it’s just groupthink that starts to roll downhill. They gave Wright $140 million, Granderson $60 million, Cuddyer $20 million…is that not spending on payroll? It’s not like they have spent zero.

      Also, was getting Colon not shrewd? Was the Dickey trade not shrewd? Was unloading K-Rod not shrewd? Was the Marlon Byrd sign & trade not shrewd? People forget these things.

      They have made it 80% of the way, and they are moving in the right direction. That means something.

      • Steve D

        Please admit one thing though…the NEW YORK Mets, in their market, with their regional network, with all MLB contract revenue, should not be 22nd in payroll…less than the Milwaukee Brewers, KC Royals and Minnesota Twins. Less than half the other New York team…I feel like a second class citizen.

        If you can’t admit that doesn’t make sense, I have to start believing you work for the Wilpons.

        • Rob E

          It doesn’t work as linearly as that. The Mets have a lot of guys that aren’t arbitration eligible (like the pitchers)….that keeps the payroll down right off the bat. The fact that these guys are good AND cheap is a GOOD thing.

          The only position where they cheaped out that you might argue about is SS…but again, who was available? They DID look to upgrade before deciding to give Flores a shot (which I thought he deserved anyway). The next two weak links are Cuddyer and Granderson…two guys they DID pay.

          So where could they have paid someone that would be a clear upgrade over who they have (the opening day lineup)? This is where the payroll argument breaks down.

          • Dave

            Rob, except for extending Wright and overpaying for Granderson, they’ve been cheap across the board for years, it goes way beyond the winter of 2014/15 and the current shortstop situation. Colon and Cuddyer weren’t real big money contracts…if your highest paid starter is making $10M/year, you’re a low payroll team. Cuddyer could have made more money this year had he accepted the qualifying offer from the Rockies. They’re fortunate, one might even say lucky, that they’re getting a good bang for the buck out of the young arms, but can we honestly believe that they’ll be able to afford to keep all of them? Is it hard to imagine that by 2017 the conversation will be all about who they can get in exchange for Harvey? Key to the success of the team in the Bronx was that they developed a core of good players in the 90’s and were able to keep all of them. It’s a shame that, playing in the same market, Mets fans can’t realistically dream of the same thing.

          • Steve D

            Perfectly said Dave…a damn shame.

  • LA Jake

    Rob E, we can go back and forth and continue to disagree. I do have to laugh with your use of the word HEALTHIER to describe the organization. I know you meant in terms of it overall, not individual players, but still.

    The facts show the Mets have spent as cheaply as possible on the bench for the past 5 years and it shows. You asked me to show what players the Mets could’ve signed but you can just as easily look at FA lists and know there were better options available.

    The facts show the Mets have consistently either misdiagnosed injuries, lied about the expectations of return from injuries or both. Nobody believes them when they make an announcement because they are almost never correct.

    The facts show the Wilpons are either incredibly naive in regards to finances or knew what they were doing with respect to Madoff as they had already dealt with a different ponzi scheme. Regardless, they put themselves in that mess and are now using it as cover for their actions or inactions.

    The facts show Totally Clueless has never made the playoffs as a manager and has been fired twice before after player revolts. His Mets teams have been fundamentally awful and his in-game managing is questionable at best. You want me to give credit to a guy that the team is where it’s at because of him? It’s because the pitching staff, especially the starters and Familia, has been incredible.

    There is no reason to give TC or the Wilpons or the Mets medical staff the benefit of the doubt. Alderson has a little leeway, but he is also the GM of a team that is twisting in the wind and asking the fans to show up more so they can spend more, which goes back to an assertion I’ve made previously that they treat fans like suckers.

    • Dennis

      Keith Hernandez has often said that he think Collins has done a good job managing this club. That’s good enough for me, considering he might know a little bit more about the club and baseball than us.

  • Rob E

    Dave…first of all, this doomsday plan about all these pitchers walking is a little premature. They have years of control…more years than they have leeway to put something serious on the board. There are hitters in the system, it’s not like there’s nothing there, and they have no long-term commitments except for Wright. When they start winning more, the money will be there. It’s also not like they suck…they are over .500 with pretty much every break going against them. And the problem they have is a fixable one, just not so easily fixed in the short term. People keep harping on the offense, but with virtually ZERO offense, they have still won more games than they have lost.

    Secondly, yes, they didn’t spend money the past few years as they 1) had to ride out the bad debt of Bay, Perez, Castillo, K-Rod, and Johan Santana left by Omar, 2) had to go through the Picard lawsuit, and 3) decided to give young players like Duda, Ike Davis, Lagares, Tejada, Flores, and other guys (that didn’t work out) a chance.

    Every season since Alderson got here, the goal of the season changed. They were trying to win the division. In 2011-2014, they were not close to competing. Why make a big signing? It would have taken a whole team of big signings to move the needle….you can’t do that (which is what they did in the 90s!). And why block your young players on top of that? They improved in the second half of last year, and have further improved this year to where one guy CAN make a difference. And that’s their challenge moving into next year (I know, NO ONE wants to hear about NEXT year).

    Their opening day starters were d’Arnaud, Duda, Murphy, Flores, Wright, Cuddyer, Lagares, and Granderson…where is the glaring hole there? I don’t see one. If that line up STAYED HEALTHY and played even AVERAGE, with this pitching staff, the Mets would be taillights.

    This season has been derailed by injuries, and compounded by guys underperforming. And no amount of spending would prevent that. And even if you had different bench players to absorb the injuries as many people are saying, they would still be BENCH players. You can’t sign a bunch of starters to be backups in case your starters get hurt.

    As far as Met fans not being able to realistically dream about a sustainably good team…that’s just more of the “woe is us” bullshit that surrounds this fan base. Almost every analytical baseball book is high on what the Mets have done. But if you guys want to get a few more months of tears in, nothing I say is going to stop you. I will leave the door to the bandwagon open for when you guys are ready to jump on.

    • Dave

      Rob, on some things we’ll have to agree to disagree. You think that Alderson has steered the ship in the right direction and we are on the cusp of seeing it all come to fruition at the major league level. I think he’s made a few good acquisitions of young players but that his track record at adding veterans is spotty at best, and the Wilpons’ preference for keeping their money wrapped up in real estate is crippling the team. Time will tell, and I hope in a year I can say that you were right.

      But boy, you should never imply that me or anyone else criticizing the Wilpons is a bandwagon fan. I was at games in the late 70’s with a paid attendance of fewer than 4000 people. I’ve worn Mets regalia in the streets of Philadelphia. I’ve bled blue and orange since years before any member of this team was born. In 46 years as a fan I’ve seen winning and lots of losing…my questioning the current state of affairs doesn’t mean my rejoicing next time they’re good – and it will happen, and I will rejoice, very loudly – makes me a bandwagon jumper. We’re all in this together, whether we agree on all the details or not.

      Enjoy.

  • Berdj J. Rassam

    So far this season, the Mets have been an awesome team at home and an inept team on the road.

  • LA Jake

    Dennis, if Keith Hernandez said Daniel Murphy is a Gold Glove fielder would you believe that too? Yes, Keith played at an All-Star level, but that doesn’t mean he automatically knows everything and the fans are always wrong.

    And lets be real here, is there any chance Keith is going to hammer the current manager? Not unless management wants him to do so and clearly they like the fact Collins always does what he is told and rarely gripes about how they’ve handicapped him player-wise.

    Frankly, if somebody told me Rob E and you worked for the team, it wouldn’t shock me.

    • Dennis

      If you’ve ever listened to Keith he pretty much tells it like it is, and will dish out criticism if it’s on his mind. I don’t believe he’s a puppet for management, so yeah, I do think he would hammer Collins if he felt it was warranted. As far as being employed by the Mets….unfortunately no. Can’t speak for him, but Rob E…..if you do work for them and are hiring…..let me know. LOL.

  • LA Jake

    Rob E, in your response to Dave, you actually said the following:

    1) “When they start winning more, the money will be there.”
    -Why should we believe that and if it’s true, why only when they are winning more?

    2) “Yes, they didn’t spend money the past few years as they 1) had to ride out the bad debt of Bay, Perez, Castillo, K-Rod, and Johan Santana left by Omar, 2) had to go through the Picard lawsuit, and 3) decided to give young players like Duda, Ike Davis, Lagares, Tejada, Flores, and other guys (that didn’t work out) a chance.”
    -You previously stated again and again they have spent money. Which one is it?

    3) “They improved in the second half of last year, and have further improved this year to where one guy CAN make a difference. And that’s their challenge moving into next year.”
    -If that’s the case then why can’t that happen this year? What will change from this year to next that will suddenly change that?

    4) “Their opening day starters were d’Arnaud, Duda, Murphy, Flores, Wright, Cuddyer, Lagares, and Granderson…where is the glaring hole there?”
    -Granderson is a below average OF with no arm and as streaky as they come offensively. Flores is an unproven hitter miscast as a SS. I like Duda but it’s not like he has a huge track record of success. Same with d’Arnaud who also has a track record of injuries. Wright hasn’t hit well since moving to Citi Field and has been suffering from injuries. Lagares is an unproven hitter. And that was all common knowledge BEFORE the season began.

    4) “And even if you had different bench players to absorb the injuries as many people are saying, they would still be BENCH players.”
    -Sorry, but the Mets don’t even give themselves a chance because they sign the cheapest bench possible, guys that nobody else wants that have never had any success. Heck, Justin Turner was better than any of the guys brought in the past couple of years but the Mets wouldn’t pay him. NOBODY including me expected he would blossom like he has, but I would expect him to be a competent SS with a decent bat. He hit .260, .269 and .280 with the Mets. What impact might that have with this group?

    I’m not a doomsday scenario guy, but I wouldn’t blame any of the young stud pitchers if they wanted to go to a club with a real offense and a management team/medical staff they can trust.

    • Matt in Woodside

      Man, your whole post annoys me.

      1) nobody other than the Wilpons knows the financial situation of the Wilpons at this point. But they are a fabulously wealthy family with tons of NYC real estate, a local cable network, and an MLB team, seven years removed from a Ponzi scheme that fooled them badly enough to somehow end up with Bobby Bonilla on the payroll until 2035. Was Wright vs. Reyes a financial decision in 2011 when they were three years removed from said Ponzi scheme and dealing with a clawback lawsuit? Sure. But now? No. They’re just fabulously wealthy again. They’ll be just as fine as any Russian oligarch or Mark Cuban in terms of writing checks to MLB players who play for their MLB team.

      2) see 1. And in your own list of bad debt, you prove Rob E’s point that the Wilpons HAVE SPENT MONEY. Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Tom Gl@v!ne, Carlos Delgado, Johan Santana, K-Rod. Just zeroing in on that semi-successful era, and not including their totally unsuccessful generosity to Mo Vaughn and others during Steve Phillips’ tenure, they allowed Omar Minaya to have one of the top three payrolls in baseball at one point in the mid aughts. Almost got us there! It didn’t. Rather than let shirt-ripping Tony Bernazard and his friend and boss Omar Minaya continue to act like the team was still just one Adam Wainwright curveball away from the world series, they hired Sandy Alderson to rebuild the club. That involves bringing up people from within your own organization. And during rebuilding, minor league players don’t cost lots of money.

      3) d’Arnaud is a great catcher and batter. His injuries have been freak accidents. Maybe he needs to be a lot more careful, but it’s not like he has chronic knee problems or a degenerative disease, and Paul DePodesta even talked to the media this spring about getting backups like Plawecki SPECIFICALLY because it is always difficult to find catchers that are good hitters. Duda hit 30 home runs last year and had an unreasonable number of walks as an unproven power hitter in 2013. Flores has been pretty good as a young hitter, even if he’s uncertain at SS. Lagares? Really? Lagares won the gold glove for center field in 2014? You want to make him ride pine to start the 2015 season, not let him take more at bats? Really?

      4) Granderson and Cuddyer are both excellent examples of veterans that are available on the free agent market every year. Guys that have had great careers and are now firmly in their 30s! Are they past their prime? They are costly. Should we be concerned? Who knows. Who do you suggest the Mets get instead? Seriously, just throw out some names and say who you’d trade for them, and then maybe I’d get the logic?

      4.2) How do you sign a bench? Are you talking about guys like Mayberry? See #4. I don’t get it.

      Sorry man, I’m really, really not trying to be a dick, but it blows my mind that in mid July, this team is currently 3 games behind the team that every single MSM news outlet picked to be in the world series back in April, and people like you are still complaining about the Wilpons for whatever reason. I don’t get it.

      • LA Jake

        Sorry my post annoys you. But you really need to examine what I said.

        1) Rob E said when they need to, the Mets will spend money. The Mets need a bat and a bench. The Mets have done nothing but bring up guys who haven’t even hit great in the minors.

        2) I was obviously poking fun at Rob E who keeps saying they have spent money and then said they didn’t spend money the past few years. It was not me who listed those names but Rob E. I find it humorous that he wants to argue both for the fact they have spent money while also pointing out they haven’t spent money.

        3) I like the core of the lineup’s potential. My problem is the bench. And as I posted previously, the Mets have spent as little as possible and picked up dumpster dive garbage for the bench that in most cases has never been quality ML talent since 2010.

        4) The Mets should’ve signed Nelson Cruz two years ago but didn’t and instead went with Granderson. I like him, but for a lineup needing a big bat it was a dumb move. Then this past year, they ignored Cruz because he was costly and grabbed Cuddyer, who I also like but again isn’t a middle of the order thumper the team needed. Without speed and power, the Mets have to rely on multiple hits each inning to score runs, which is tough.

        I don’t think you’re being a dick, I think you’re missing my argument and the fact I quoted Rob E everywhere and then provided my question for him or response.

    • dmg

      l.a. jake, i like all your comments and especially about justin turner — he’s a great example of how the mets have consistently weakened their chances by skating by on the most marginal lineup available.

      turner was a met a long time and showed more than flashes. but because he was surrounded by hitters at least as spotty as he was, he didn’t see enough good pitches to improve. put him in a decent lineup, and look at him rake.
      this is the problem all mets face — individually they may be good on paper or even better than good. but as a team, they actually drag each other down. this is why players who leave the mets quite often flourish.

      nor will this change for the foreseeable future. it’s why, actually, i’m all for going out now and overcompensating for a couple of decent bats — not superstars, just guys who will lift the lineup collectively. i’m not talking tulo; what would it take to get prado, for example? or upton? why not trade niese or mejia?

      folks who say wait til next year seem to forget this is the fifth year of alderson’s five year plan — the mets are where he hoped they would be. and the rest of the division is painfully soft. these seasons don’t come around all that often — ask the nats about that — and the time is now. if the mets don’t upgrade, then the front office truly doesn’t have any interest in winning.

  • Steve D

    From 2004-2010, the Mets were in the top 5 in payroll every year (scroll down the list to see all the years). Not every move was great…but in 2006, they should have been in the World Series. In today’s baseball there is a direct correlation with payroll and results.

    Now they are 22nd in payroll in the top market. The Wilpon apologists don’t see this as troubling. They defend the low payroll, but indirectly indict the Wilpons further by implying that if they spent more, they would probably misspend it. Looking at the list, every recent WS winner has been about 10th in payroll or higher. You have to go back to the 2003 Marlins for a team to win it all being near the bottom in payroll.

    The Wilpons spent money like crazy in the mid 2000s to have a good team and to support their Ebbets Field II dream. The business model was to build a smaller stadium and luxury boxes that would be packed every night. We know how that is working. Add in Madoff and you have debt saddled ownership that has to save 50 Million a year in salary to turn a small profit. Met fans are held hostage and we will not have a contender with current ownership IMO. That’s why we are mad.

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