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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Seasons That Simply Are

Well, the Mets finally got that big hit.

Neil Walker, looking like April’s Neil Walker, crashed a three-run homer into the seats in the seventh inning Sunday, saving the Mets from a four-game losing streak, a season sweep at the hands of the Rockies, and an extra topping of misery and angst ahead of the Subway Series. (This? Now? Why, God, why?)

Walker couldn’t get a win for Noah Syndergaard, who labored through nearly 120 pitches, though he did set the stage for another terrific outing from Addison Reed and an infinitely more reassuring one from Jeurys Familia, whose sinker looked a lot better than it did earlier this week. (Familia also had a lot better luck, which always helps.)

Walker also couldn’t do anything for poor Asdrubal Cabrera, who wound up hopping home when his patellar tendon betrayed him, redirecting him to the disabled list. Cabrera had been the Mets’ most reliable offensive player and a soothing, steadying presence at shortstop, but it’s 2016, so of course now there’s another hole stove in the bottom of the boat.

So now the Mets come to August 1 and the trade deadline. What should they do? They’re 6 1/2 games behind a Nationals team that looks a lot more imposing and a lot better led than last year’s model, and they’re 2 1/2 games behind the irritating Marlins for the second wild-card spot, with the Cardinals in their way and the Pirates and Rockies uncomfortably close behind them. As I type this, rumors are flying that Jay Bruce is coming.

Should he?

As with any trade proposal, that’s hard to answer in a vacuum. For what? If the price is Antonio Bastardo, Ray Ramirez and the costumes used in the pathetic Citi Field car race, excuse me, I’ve got to help some guys pack. Somehow I don’t think that’s the offer the Reds are considering, though.

Personally, if I were the Mets I’d sell … except they have nothing to sell that they wouldn’t be better off keeping. Maybe you could quickly turn around Neil Walker before his latest hot streak dissipates, but Yoenis Cespedes is playing on one leg, Cabrera just went down and nobody’s taking Curtis Granderson off our hands. I’d be reluctant to part with Travis d’Arnaud, whose lengthy injury record strikes me as more the product of terrible luck than anything else. (You may see TdA differently. That’s fine.) That leaves … Bartolo Colon? Reed? You’re not getting any sort of royal ransom back for them — we’re in the realm of lottery tickets and middling Double-A prospects here.

That leaves the Mets standing pat, which seems like a disappointing answer but may also be the right one. At the end of last July they needed another bat to take the pressure off their stellar pitching. Now they need a lot more than one bat, that stellar pitching’s been degraded through mileage and mischance into merely very good pitching, and the guy on the trading block is a lumbering corner outfielder — a commodity they’ve got in excess.

There’s also the danger that the giddy run of 2015 makes us believe in mirages. A year ago, Cespedes and then Daniel Murphy became the hottest hitters on the planet for six weeks while the Nationals imploded. I don’t see that happening again. I don’t see us catching the Nats and I don’t think we’re better than the wild-card competition. Plus last year the Mets had a number of minor-league arms stockpiled and a log jam at the big-league level. They dealt from a strength, as they should have, but no such surplus exists any longer.

I’d punt this season. Sell what you can from the pool of Walker, Reed and Colon and start looking at the future. Put Wilmer Flores at third and treat him like what he almost certainly will wind up being, which is your 2017 third baseman. Quit jerking Michael Conforto in and out of the lineup and let him play every day. Get Dilson Herrera up here to play. Take a look at Brandon Nimmo. Leave Matt Reynolds alone at short, or bring up Gavin Cecchini and leave him alone at short.

Baseball seasons can be heroic epics, tragedies or farces. But sometimes they’re just baseball seasons. That happens too, and it’s OK — provided you don’t damage your own cause pretending otherwise.

23 comments to Seasons That Simply Are

  • Rochester John

    Sell Reed? I could see it if he were going to be a FA at the end of the year, but he’s not. Every year, the Mets prove the adage that you can never have too much relief pitching (because we never have). Reed and Familia have been the most reliable pitchers on the team this year, and we’re going to need both of them next year.

  • Greg Mitchell

    As you state, they need to get a really top player or players and then cross fingers, but to do that costs at least 2 top prospects or more and do you really want to do that at this point? I wonder also if Sandy is throwing in the towel now with Cabrera hurt…

    And in my usual style, I will note Terry letting Thor (bone chip, “dear arm” less than a month ago) toss 118 pitches in tie game and with no extra rest–after 114 last time out. His final line doesn’t look bad but never looked sharp, got lucky on two calls. And we’ll see how he does in next start vs. Tigers…

  • Harvey

    It’s amazin’ how much this year’s month-by-month record through July mirrors last year’s:

    2015 2016
    April 15- 8 15- 7
    May 13-15 14-15
    June 12-15 12-15
    July 13-12 13-13

    Total 53-50 54-50

    Of course, this time last year they were only 2 behind the Nats and headed for a 20-8 August. That record will not be matched this year. Hopefully, at least maybe they can do something against the despirited Yanks, who waved the white flag for this season.

    • Fred

      So all we need is a 20-8 August and for the clubs ahead of us to vaoprize as contenders. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Dave

    Of course, to trade or not to trade always depends on what’s being offered, and no amount of Jay Bruce or Jonathan Lucroy as trending hashtags really tells us what Alderson knows on that front. Selling probably makes sense, but baseball and especially baseball fandom is not always based on what makes sense. With another year until free agency, I would hold onto Reed for dear life (remember, anyone can get hurt, including closers, a job he could likely handle quite well if need be), but it’s not as though there are lots of sellable parts. Neither Bart nor Walker are going to bring anything more than a useful part, nobody who’s going to change the Mets’ fortunes down the line significantly. Grandy’s year remaining on his contract makes him that much less attractive…of course I could be surprised, but my gut is telling me that they’ll largely stand pat and hold out hope that the players they already have will a) stop rolling up frequent visitor points at local hospitals and b) play up to the level expected of them. If just b) had been happening all year, the team would be in much better shape right now.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Amen on not trading Travis. And Greg Mitchell, you should note that 8 of those pitches were intentional walks and the 6th inning was probably his best of the day.

    • Greg Mitchell

      Thor can only go six innings these days–because all those swings and misses he used to get are now foul balls. That tells you something. He was up to 17 pitches after the first two batters of the game….

  • Kevin From Flushing

    100% on board with this plan

  • eric1973

    Hey Jace,

    Flores our 2017 3B? Forget about a certain guy named Wright? He’s already penciled in for Opening Day. Then Flores can take over on MAY15, when the inevitable happens.

    Kudos to Sandy, pending medicals. He did it again, without giving up Conforto.

    I hear Asdrubal went to TC just now and told him he wanted to play, and hit cleanup. Motion Approved, of course!

  • Greg Mitchell

    Carlos Gomez revisited? Jay Bruce deal about to be announced, and suddenly there’s a “medical issue”–though this time it might with a Mets prospect.

    If Nimmo goes, I’m really curious how most people feel about it. He became a crowd favorite but, who knows, his ceiling may be judged to be not that high. Same might be said for Conforto…now. And Herrera, given his struggles at AAA after hot start….it happens…especially to Mets prospects…

  • Fred

    I don’t have an issue with losing Dilson, if need be, to secure something better behind the plate. I don’t see keeping d’Arnaud. He struggles to hit. He struggles to throw people out. His fielding is servicable but his injury history is lamentable. He may turn into a better catcher at some point in his career but I prefer he do it somewhere else. Maybe he does come back to haunt us – but he would only be doing a few times a year, not every game he’s behind the plate.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Lucroy to Rangers, it is reported.

    Also Bruce trade back on with Dilson also in deal? If so they have really soured on him after fallout at Vegas…..

  • rich porricelli

    im cool with these deals..cespedes and bruce in the middle of the line up and no more bastard..

  • Greg Mitchell

    Yay, we keep Nimmo….But so much for Dilson as second-baseman-of-the-future. The revenge of the Murph…

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Is it possible they are now thinking of re-signing Walker? One 3 run homer goes a long way with this team.

  • Tim H.

    As a lifelong Mets fan, I hope that in the middle of all the talk about new players coming and going, the Mets organization remembers to recognize a truly great player — albeit from the New York Yankees — before tomorrow night’s game (Aug.2). It was 37 years ago (!) that baseball lost someone who knew, played and respected the game as few others have — Thurman Munson. He was the best of the best. R.I.P., Captain.

  • Jacobs27

    Totally agree with everything you said, Jason.

    Well, except for your characterization of Cabrera as having been “the Mets’ most reliable offensive player”. I mean, I guess you could point to his 1.4 offensive WAR, second on the team to Céspedes… But c’mon, the man didn’t have a hit with a runner in scoring position for two months. That such a player could even be in the conversation for “most reliable offensive player” says pretty much all you need to know about the Mets offense.

    All due respect to Asdrubal, but apart from being an eminently steady double-play partner with Walker, he’s has been the very definition of mediocrity and low-impactness. You never want to see a guy get hurt, especially like that, but I honestly agree with Bobby V. that it’s less a loss than an opportunity to try a real player for the future at the position.

    The Bruce trade, apart from his high avg. w/ RISP, seems like a bad fit. We now have like 4 defensively middling left-handed-hitting right fielders. And no second baseman for next year. Meh.

  • Jacobs27

    As for d’Arnaud, he’s the only player on the team whose offensive and defensive WAR are both negative according to Baseball Reference. For whatever that’s worth.

    The only players on the Mets whose oWAR and dWar are both positive? That would be Walker, Johnson, and Rivera. (Bruce’s dWar, as it happens, -1.9. Ouch.)

    True, defensive WAR is not the most reliable stat. Grain of salt. But still, doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the team.

  • eric1973

    What’s the inevitable? Why, the season-ending DL, of course!

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