The Mets’ Season Is Officially Not Over



Final Score: Mets 5, Nationals 3

The Mets have won 2 out of 3 against the Nationals in Washington. The season is officially not over in April. The full blown Panic City meltdown has been temporarily postponed (until next week probably).

The MVP of the game was Michael Conforto who hit a two out two-run homer in the 5th inning to give the Mets a 3-1 lead and then hit a solo shot in the 8th inning to left center field off a 99 MPH fastball from a left handed reliever. That homer gave the Mets a 4-2 lead and the extra run was the difference in the game.

Conforto vs. Bruce: I think it’s important to point out that one month into the season we have an answer to the debate that dominated the entire offseason among fans and beat writers. The majority of fans and writers spent the offseason saying that the Mets had to trade Jay Bruce to allow Michael Conforto to play everyday. If you held that view and you are gloating at the moment due to Conforto’s early season success I think it’s important to note that you were wrong. You were 100% wrong.

In the end, the people who said “play Conforto everyday” were right AND the people who said “don’t trade Jay Bruce” were right. We needed the extra outfield depth immediately thanks to injuries. Curtis Granderson has been so bad that we probably would have needed Conforto to start even without the injury to Yoenis Cespedes. The bottom line is, the people that argued to keep all of the outfielders around for depth purposes were right.

Innings Nibbler: Speaking of depth, the Mets need Steven Matz and Seth Lugo back in a big way. Zack Wheeler is the opposite of an innings eater. In this game he pitched 4.2 innings gave up 2 runs (1 ER) on 5 hits and 4 walks. The defense sucked behind him, but that’s to be expected with this Mets team. Wheeler is pitching 4-5 high stress innings every time he takes the mound. That is totally unsustainable over the course of a season. We really need a situation where Matz and Wheeler are in the rotation and Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are in the pen to regularly piggyback on their starts.

Reyes Heating Up: Jose Reyes hit a solo homer in the 9th inning making it 5-3 Mets and giving them an insurance run. Reyes looks like he’s heating up. I just snagged him in my fantasy league.

Contact! Glorious Contact!: T.J. Rivera really is the king of contact. He had two hits. He puts the ball in play almost every time he steps to the plate. We still won this game with the home run ball like we always do, but it’s still enjoyable to watch Rivera’s approach at the plate.

Back To A Pumpkin: Addison Reed entered the game in the 8th inning and gave up a homer to Ryan Zimmerman for the second day in a row. Perhaps Addison Reed is turning back into a slightly above average pumpkin in 2017.

Mets Say Yo Is Fine: The Mets said that team doctors examined Yo’s hamstring, and the damage wasn’t as bad as originally expected. I think Cespedes should get a second opinion.

Today: Noah Syndergaard takes the mound today and the Mets try for the sweep. Pray that Thor’s bicep doesn’t explode.

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King Wheeler Leads The Mets To Victory 


Final Score: Mets 5, Phillies 4

King Wheeler reigned for five prosperous innings last night before tiring and briefly ceding the throne to known pretender Hansel Robles who nearly destroyed everything Zack had accomplished during his tenure on the mound. The offense was led by new leadoff man Lord Conforto of Italy, red hot Venezuelan knight Asdrubal Cabrera, and of course the real King of Flushing, Yoenis Cespedes.

Leadoff Man Conforto: Initially it seemed like Conforto made his way into the lineup because Curtis Granderson was scratched with an injury, but the team later confirmed it was simply a day off for Curtis. Michael Conforto did not disappoint in the leadoff spot. He was involved in or directly responsible for most of the early scoring. He led off the game with a single and Yoenis Cespedes drove him in with a double to left field. Then in the third inning he hit an opposite field solo homer to make it 2-0.

Doing What Had To Be Done: Conforto is doing exactly what he had to do to keep his spot on the major league roster. He’s mashing in his limited number of plate appearances. Now the Mets will look terrible if they demote him. As I’ve said many times, the Mets need to continuously rotate these outfielders. Conforto leading off and playing in center/right field a few days a week makes perfect sense. Grandy is old and Conforto is the highest ceiling bat we have on the roster other than Cespedes.

Cabby Is A New York Guy: In the 5th Inning the Phillies hit Travis d’Arnaud with a pitch and then walked Zack Wheeler and Michael Conforto to load the bases. Asdrubal Cabrera followed that with a 2-RBI single up the right field line to make it 4-0 Mets. Cabby is such a New York performer. Never in a million years did I think he’d show up, put on a Mets uniform, and play better than he has at any point in his career. But that’s what he’s done while he’s played in Flushing. Yoenis Cespedes also added a sac fly in the 5th inning to make it 5-0. That run turned out to be the winning run.

Shattered Wrist: When Travis d’Arnaud was hit by a pitch on the wrist, Ray Ramirez came out of the dugout and Travis proceeded to sprint away from him. It was a priceless image that epitomized every fans’ opinion of Ray Ramirez. Also d’Arnaud’s wrist is certainly going to fall off in the next 72 hours.

Is The Real Wheeler Standing Up?: Zack Wheeler looked great over 5 innings last night but in the 6th inning he hit a wall. It’s not surprising to see Zack tire early considering he’s missed two seasons, and he’s still working his way back from injury. At the same time, this is the kind of pitcher he’s been his entire career. These first two starts are really a microcosm of his young career.

In his first start he lacked command, and that has always been one of his flaws. He had his velocity against the Marlins, but it didn’t matter. He just couldn’t execute. Last night he pitched to contact and was able to retire the Phillies lineup with ease. He was able to consistently throw his breaking ball for strikes and locate his fastball. But at the same time he fizzled out in the middle of the game. He’s always been a 5-6 inning pitcher.

Before we leap to any judgments, we still need to see what he looks like once he’s fully stretched out. He still needs to show he can master the strike zone on a more consistent basis. And also he needs to show he can stay healthy. Mainly that.

Robles Is The Worst: It was clear early in the sixth inning that Wheeler was tiring. But Terry let it drag out and left him in the game to load the bases. He finally pulled him with two outs and the bases juiced. Then who did Terry turn to? Hansel Robles. Robles came in and surrendered a grand slam to Maikel Franco on the first pitch. He’s really a piece of crap.

Sandy’s Guys: Fernando Salas and Addison Reed slammed the door on this game. I still can’t believe Sandy targeted and brought in these two guys for basically nothing. They’ve been electric out of the pen for the Mets. I’m looking forward to the return of Jeurys Familia. The back end of the bullpen could turn out to be better than originally expected with those three arms making the bulk of the appearances. We need one more reliable guy to step up. It doesn’t look like Robles is going to be that guy.

Today: The Mets swept the Phillies. Congratulations. Now Robert Gsellman takes on Wei-Yin Chen and the Marlins. It’s time for the Mets to show the rest of the NL East what we are capable of accomplishing.

Mets Lose On Trash Giveaway Night At Citi Field


Final Score: Marlins 7, Mets 2

You know it was a rough night when the top 5 Mets highlights were: 1) Rafael Montero pitched 2.2 scoreless innings. 2) Trash swirled all over the outfield. 3) Rene Rivera had two hits. 4) Keith Hernandez said he used to like Lamb Chop’s Play-Along. 5) Zack Wheeler hit 98 MPH on the radar gun in the first inning.

The Marlins smacked the Mets. Zack Wheeler started out strong, but then he reminded everyone that he hasn’t pitched at the major league level in two years giving up 5 runs over 4 innings. Honestly, his crappy performance was of secondary concern because the offense failed to show up again. The Mets scattered nine hits but really couldn’t find a way to get any runs across. The Mets pitching staff also walked six Marlins. You ain’t winning baseball games if you’re walking the ballpark.

Wheeler Rusty: Zack “Rusty” Wheeler pitched a dominant first inning. He hit 98 on the radar gun and struck out two Marlins. After that it all fell apart. In the second inning he left a hanging slider up to Giancarlo Stanton and Stanton just missed a home run due to the wind. But then he walked Justin Bour, Marcell Ozuna singled, and Derek Dietrich tripled scoring two. Then Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out which scored Dietrich from third base. I blinked and it was 3-1. He also gave up a two run homer to Christian Yelich in the third inning. I’m going to blame some combination of the cold weather, rust, and the trash on the field for Wheeler’s poor performance.

Met Killers: SNY kept showing Yelich’s incredible numbers at Citi Field. Why does it feel like every team that visits Citi Field has at least four players that rake against us? Brandon Phillips and Matt Kemp for the Braves and now Met Killer Yelich is in town. The parade of Met Killers never ends.

Pray For Recovery: Hopefully Zack’s arm feels strong after he recovers from this start. It’s understandable that he’ll need to shake off rust as he continues to make starts in 2017. Pray for his continued health. I was excited to see him back on the mound even though he wound up getting smacked around. And ultimately this was just another spring training start for Wheeler. He clearly needs to get a better feel for his secondary pitches and re-establish his command. As a result of all the injuries to the Mets pitching staff, the team basically decided to let Wheeler complete his extended spring training at Citi Field. So there are bound to be some bumps along the way.

Offense Sucks Again: The real problem was that the offense continued to be non-existent in this game. In the first inning Asdrubal Cabrera singled with one out, Wilmer Flores walked with two outs, and then Curtis Granderson hit an opposite field RBI single. But that was the only run the team scored until Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. Quite frankly, Yo shouldn’t have been playing that late in a blowout game. Terry was snoozing at the managerial wheel.

Grandy and Rene Rivera each had two hits but the Mets couldn’t score any runs against Wei-Yin Chen who pitched 6 innings and gave up 1 run. Chen even added insult to injury with his first career hit against Wheeler.

Chunky Lefties #TeamJosh: I have no idea why, but I love that the Mets have two chunky left-handed relievers named Josh who have had Tommy John surgery, throw hard, and are trying to establish themselves as reliable major league relievers. I always mix them up. Josh Edgin has the ginger beard and Josh Smoker has the crazy eyes. Smoker also likes to curse and talk to himself on the mound.

Smoker Sucked: Anyway Josh Smoker looked like crap in this game. He started the 5th inning and struck out the first hitter. Then Christian Yelich hit a ball to Yo that he misplayed, and it resulted in a single. After that it all fell apart for Smoker. He gave up hits and walks and before long the Marlins added two more runs to make it 7-1. That basically put the game out of reach.

Good News: Rafael Montero and Chunky Josh 2.0 (Edgin) looked nice in garbage time relief.

More Bad News: Jose Reyes went 0-5 and has been awful in a small sample size. World Baseball Classic fatigue? We better hope that it’s WBC fatigue and not something worse (i.e. he’s washed up).

Tomorrow: Robert Gsellman pitches tomorrow night against Adam Conley. The Mets need Gsellman to be a rookie force on the mound. I need him to come through for my fantasy team. No pressure kid.

Wheeler Is Tender, Start Praying

It only took three days for the Mets to have their first pitching related hiccup of Spring Training.

Zack Wheeler has a tender elbow. Surprise! The man has had a tender elbow for two years now. His Tenderness attempted to throw a bullpen session, and the Mets quickly shut it down. Right now they are attributing the discomfort to scar tissue from the Tommy John surgery he had two years ago. The team says his physical at the start of camp showed no structural damage in the arm.

Whether it’s minor tenderness due to scar tissue or some massive injury being covered up by the Mets training staff, the bottom line is we must do what we always do when it comes to Mets pitching. We pray.

This early setback is really a reminder of two things.

  1. If Robert Gsellman has a strong spring he’s winning that fifth starter job.
  2. We should have re-signed Bartolo Colon.

These aren’t shocking revelations at all. Gsellman pitched great in September last year, and Wheeler hasn’t been healthy for two years. Gsellman has to be considered the favorite early on. And Colon was the horse of our pitching staff for three straight seasons. I never understood the dump Colon and pray plan. I mean I understood that the Mets didn’t want to pay Bart. But I didn’t understand it from a roster perspective (because it made no sense).

Anyway, here we are on day three of camp and we’ve learned David Wright hasn’t thrown a baseball yet and Zack Wheeler can’t throw one again. Sigh.

Meanwhile His Sexiness is strutting all over Braves camp like the dynamo he is.

I miss Big Sexy. At least we know Colon will be back midseason when we eventually trade Gsellman for Colon and Kelly Johnson.

Setbacks, Demotions, and Despair

Final Score: Padres 8, Mets 6

I wrote yesterday that I’m afraid to watch the rest of the Mets games because we haven’t seen “Mets rock bottom” yet. Well yesterday the Mets announced they’re shutting down Zack Wheeler and sending him to see Dr. James Andrews! A double elbow injury and potential second TJ surgery setback is precisely the kind of rock bottom I was talking about. Fantastic! Honestly the Mets should shut everyone down. We lost again last night and dropped below .500.

The funny thing about Wheeler getting injured again is it directly ties into last night’s game. Remember when all we heard about was the organizational pitching depth? Well we don’t actually have that anymore. It doesn’t exist. You know how I know? Because Logan Verrett has been terrible since taking over for Matt Harvey. Yet the Mets keep running him out there. He gave up 8 runs over 2.2 innings last night. Unwatchable baseball. But don’t worry, the Mets finally decided to replace him in the rotation after the game last night. Hot new prospect Jon Niese will take his spot. Niese has been terrible since reuniting with the Mets, but the minor league options obviously aren’t what they used to be.

The Upside: Travis d’Arnaud had 3 hits and a two-run homer in the game. The Mets came back late. They scored a run in the fifth inning and 3 in the sixth. But again who cares? They lost. I’m not looking forward to interim manager Dick Scott.

The Downside: The Mets demoted Michael Conforto before the game. The truth is he deserves the demotion. He’s done nothing to show he belongs in the starting lineup. I know the argument has been made that he should just play everyday at the major league level for the experience. I’m sure that will happen in September once the organization officially waves the white flag. Conforto’s sophomore slump should have a big impact on the 2017 plan. The impact being he doesn’t deserve a starting spot. In my mind he’s penciled in at Triple-A unless he takes some big strides in September.

Collect The Rejects: I joked yesterday that the Mets should find a way to get Jonathan Papelbon so he can choke Yoenis Cespedes and we can officially hit the 2015 Nationals kind of rock bottom. Well the Nats are looking to release him according to reports today. Watch the Mets bring him in. That would be hilarious. We also apparently want Carlos Gomez. If we land Gomez, we’ve essentially re-created Omar Minaya’s team and also the Minaya level clubhouse morale. Everyone is depressed and feels like we have no shot.

Today: Padres again. At least we get to watch Jacob deGrom. Maybe it’s Terry’s second to last day?

Thor, Yo, and Wheeler Healthy; The Gods Are Merciful


As my prayer vigil raged on late into the night, I feared the worst for our boys Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, and Zack Wheeler. The Mets were indicating they wouldn’t have an update on any of the guys until today. Ray Ramirez couldn’t update the fans because he was too busy running from room to room at the Hospital For Special Surgery asking each of the players to provide another stool sample for his “collection”. Then after 10pm, the first bombshell finally dropped. Thor posted the above photo on Instagram. “Happy elbows” was all I needed to hear. Then, just before 11pm the Mets dropped the news on SNY. All three guys are fine. Praise Jesus.

Thor’s MRI showed no elbow damage, and he was cleared. Yoenis Cespedes was diagnosed with a mild sprain of his left wrist. He got a little cortisone and will take a couple days off. Zack Wheeler just had some nerve irritation in his elbow. He got a cortisone injection too, but his elbow structure was fine. I’m sure the Mets will handle all three of these guys with care, but for another day we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Our two best players are alive. The season isn’t over.

P.S. The Nationals are finally hitting a rough patch. They’ve dropped five straight games and three straight in LA to the Dodgers. Michael Taylor went 0 for 5 (5 Ks) last night and misplayed a ball that led to the game winning run. He turned a single into a three base error and a loss for the Nats. Can the Mets please take care of the Braves in this four game set? Please? Let’s try and limit the setbacks. I think we’ve reached our quota for the week.

Mets Sweep Royals! In June…

Final Score: Mets 4, Royals 3

The Only Injuries That Matter: I wanted to lead off on a positive note after a two game series sweep. I really did. But Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard are both being examined at the Hospital For Special Surgery right now. Cespedes left the game after the fifth inning with left wrist discomfort. I’m sure it’s just some poisonous spider bite that will lead to his wrist falling off. No big deal. And Thor left the game after battling through six mediocre innings with elbow discomfort. Yeah an elbow problem. Just like Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler had recently. Greaaaat. Now we wait and see if the season is over. Yo and Thor are the two best players on our team. They are the only injuries that matter. Pray.

On To The Game: Other than the potential season derailing injuries to Yo and Thor, the Mets finally won a series against the Royals. We beat the Royals in June. Perfect timing. Sure it’s a depleted Royals squad missing Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas, but injuries are not a valid excuse when you’re playing the Mets. This was a big series win after such a brutal weekend against the Braves. And the Mets were able to win both of these games without stellar starting pitching performances. First Bartolo went down with an injury yesterday, and today Noah Syndergaard struggled due to elbow discomfort. But he still battled through 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, and 3 runs. He only struck out 4 Royals. He blew two leads. He blew a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning when he gave up a solo shot to Cheslor Cuthbert. Then in that same inning he let the Royals take a 2-1 lead when Jarrod Dyson singled, Danny Duffy sacrificed him over to second base, and Whit Merrifield hit an RBI single. He blew the lead for the second time in the 6th inning when Salvador Perez doubled, and Paulo Orlando drove him in with an RBI single to make it 3-3. But the Mets were able to score enough to win and the bullpen pitched three scoreless innings. Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed were the bridge to Jeurys Familia.

Loney And The Soup Apologists: James Loney hit a two out RBI single in the fourth inning to make it 1-0. Loney’s line before the game was at .292/.338/.417. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about James Loney. I’ve even seen people arguing he’s not a real upgrade over Eric Campbell. I don’t care that it’s a small sample size. If you’re still saying he’s not an upgrade over Soup you’re wrong. I’m not saying he’s a star. I’m not saying he’s the answer at first base. But Jesus Christ he’s better than Soup.

Asdrubal Is Today’s MVP: I don’t know if he got the Michael Cuddyer belt, but Asdrubal Cabrera had quite a day. He scored on the James Loney single and had a nice slide at the plate. He hit a two run homer in the fifth inning to make it 3-2 and retake the lead for the Mets. He even made some nice plays at shortstop.

Reynolds In LF?: Terry played Matt Reynolds in left field for the first time in his career. Terry has no fear throwing a rookie with no experience in the outfield, but he won’t consider calling up Dilson Herrera and putting Neil Walker at third base? Kind of absurd. Oh by the way Matt Reynolds hit a solo home run in the 6th inning to make it 4-3 and that was the winning run for the Mets. Lucky Terry. He’s a genius.

Pitching Injury Update: Zack Wheeler got his elbow examined today after it flared up during his rehab. No word from the Mets on that yet. Thor also went to the hospital after the game for an elbow exam as I mentioned above. After getting rocked with a liner off his thumb, Bartolo is apparently fine and ready to make his next start this weekend. He’s indestructible.

Tomorrow: The Mets head to Atlanta for a four game set. They really need to make up for that horrendous sweep at Citi Field. Light your candles for Thor, Wheeler, and Cespedes. The season could be over if those MRIs don’t go our way.

Mets Bullpen Beats Royals


Final Score: Mets 2, Royals 1

Wow the Mets finally won a close game against the Kansas City Royals that came down to the performance of our bullpen! Lolz.

Bartolo Thumb-backer: Bartolo Colon threw four pitches and was instantly injured by a comebacker that ricocheted off of the thumb on his pitching hand. Unbelievable. X-Rays were supposedly negative. Hopefully that extra layer of hand fat helped protect the bones/muscles from any actual injury.

Mets Pen Beats Royals Pen: Hansel Robles/Erik Goeddel/Jerry Blevins/Addison Reed/Jeurys Familia combined for 8.2 innings and only surrendered one run. Impressive effort from this unit. Robles threw 65 pitches over 3.2 innings. He threw like 40 pitches a couple days ago. I smell another reliever corpse. Speaking of dead relievers, Jim Henderson went on the DL. Terry killed him. RIP.

Dingers Only: In the bottom of the first inning, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run and in the bottom of the fourth inning Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo dinger to center field. That was the only offense for the Mets. Dingers only per usual. The Mets had six hits and only three opportunities with runners in scoring position tonight. Obviously they failed to take advantage of any of those chances, but they still won. I’ll take it. We stole this game. Also, check out how pathetic we are with runners in scoring position (prior to this game):

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Last place. As bad as it gets.

Plawecki Out, D’Arnaud In: Travis d’Arnaud made his return to the lineup tonight after his lengthy DL stint. Mr. Glass picked up right where he left off going 0 for 3 bringing his average to .184. Welcome back. Kevin Plawecki rightfully got demoted to Vegas after his horrendous stint filling in. Hopefully he puts things together and has an impact later this season.

Wheeler Setback: Zack Wheeler is on his way back to New York to have his elbow examined by team doctors after experiencing discomfort. It’s a setback. The Mets love setbacks. Setbacks are the key to ensuring injuries continue forever. Wheeler and Colon go down on the same day. Yeesh. Pray for Zack.

Tomorrow: The Mets have a day game with Noah Syndergaard on the mound tomorrow. Please sweep this two game set. We need wins so bad.

The Mets Can’t Afford To Trade Wheeler

This season, the injury plague has spread throughout the Mets clubhouse much like it did in 2015. As soon as David Wright went down, the fan base started clamoring for a big time trade. Every fan has a pipe dream proposal where they just name a bunch of guys on the Mets top prospect list and assume the package will land the Mets a franchise type bat. But I’ve poured over the lists of prospective trade options as well as the Mets farm system, and I keep coming to the same conclusion. If the Mets want to land a big time bat that is under team control for more than just this season, the trade talks will begin and end with Zack Wheeler. For most fans, that price doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. Well it should be. Trading Zack Wheeler would be a mistake, and it’s a price the Mets cannot afford to pay if they want to remain competitive over the next few seasons.

In 2015, the Mets had a pitching surplus. They had arguably the top rotation in the game and two frontline starter types in Zack Wheeler and Michael Fulmer that weren’t even a part of the major league equation. The Mets knew they had the flexibility to deal from that surplus, and at the deadline they clearly made Wheeler/Fulmer available. We saw the Carlos Gomez for Wheeler trade play out and ultimately fall through. And we saw the Mets ultimately pull the trigger on the Michael Fulmer for Yoenis Cespedes deal that catapulted the team to the NL East crown. In his brief major league stint so far this season, Fulmer looks like he’s going to be a top of the rotation starter (7-1, 2.52 ERA). The Mets already knew that was the likely outcome with Fulmer. It’s the reason they were hesitant to deal him. But that trade netted the Mets Cespedes, and it’s a deal the 2015 Mets make 10 times out of 10. Why? Because the 2015 Mets had the pitching depth to afford it. Unfortunately, after dealing Fulmer and a number of other pitching prospects in 2015 deadline deals, the 2016 Mets lack that luxury.

The Mets blueprint for making the playoffs includes them putting an ace on the mound every single day. Five aces baby. That’s been the plan for years. Wheeler is that fifth ace. The one area the Mets have been blessed this season is the health of their young pitchers (Yeah I said it. I’m ferociously knocking on wood. Relax). Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that run of luck lasts year after year. In order to make the most of this championship window and have any chance of sustained success, the Mets are going to need all five aces to carry them. Period. You think Bartolo Colon will be around forever? You want to trade Wheeler and possibly roll with Logan Verrett or Sean Gilmartin as the fifth starter next season? Trust me, don’t look at the list of available free agent starting pitchers for next offseason. There’s a reason front line guys get paid so much. There’s not that many of them.

I’m not saying the Mets shouldn’t look to deal some minor league talent to upgrade the roster. But the available crop of infielders that I’ve been reading about (e.g. Danny Valencia, Yangervis Solarte) does not include a franchise level bat, and Jonathan Lucroy is a catcher. I realize Lucroy can play first base, but it’s not his true position. He’s started just over 30 games at first base in his 7 year career. Travis d’Arnaud is supposed to be back next week, and Lucas Duda is supposed to be back before the end of the season. To give up Zack Wheeler for a player that ultimately creates a roster conundrum for the end of the season and into next season seems foolish to me. In the short term for this season, I think the best move for the Mets is to look to make marginal upgrades to the roster via trade, utilize internal options (e.g. Dilson Herrera, Brandon Nimmo), or make a big international signing (*cough* Yulieski Gourriel *cough*).

In the long term, I think the Mets are better served holding on to all the pitching and looking for ways to upgrade the major league roster in the offseason via free agency. To me that’s the most effective route to elevate this specific roster to a championship caliber level without sacrificing the key strength upon which all the hope for success is predicated. We will live and die with our core of five aces. We cannot afford to compromise that blueprint for the sake of a quick fix. At least not this year.

Luck O’ The Maverick Rescues Mets From Parallel Universe

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Let’s take a moment and see what could have happened if the Mets had slipped into an alternate reality at the 2015 trading deadline:

February is upon us and it’s nearly time for the start of Spring Training. After the lackluster 81-81 finish to the 2015 season, Sandy Alderson is forced to answer many of the same questions he faced last spring. Will the team finally take a step forward? Will the Mets reach the 90 win goal that management has set forth for the second season in a row? Can the Mets finally beat the Nationals who have won the NL East for 3 of the last 4 seasons?

Mets fans are restless and want to know what can be expected from Carlos Gomez in CF. Gomez, who was acquired at the trade deadline for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, failed to propel the Mets anemic offense over the final two months of the season. After injuries plagued Gomez down the stretch, Mets fans want to know if he will be healthy this year, and if Sandy regrets giving up Zack Wheeler for just one full season of Gomez before he inevitably tests free agency. In addition, Mets fans wonder how Juan Lagares will react to being relegated to the bench in favor of a player with a similar skill-set just one season after signing a 20 million dollar contract.

The signing of 35 year old utility-man Ben Zobrist to play 2B has provided some excitement for the fan base as he represents the Mets first significant free agent acquisition since the 2013 signing of Curtis Granderson. Zobrist, coming off a World Series championship with the Royals, was courted by the Nationals in the off-season and reportedly had interest in returning to his home state of Illinois to play for the Cubs. However, due to Zobrist’s age and the success of Starlin Castro at 2B during their run to the NL pennant, the Cubs were reluctant to get involved in the bidding. Many experts questioned the Mets decision to give a 4 year contract to a 35 year old player with a recent history of knee injuries. However it was clear during their pursuit that the Mets loved Zobrist and were willing overlook the risks associated with the back-end of the contract.

Ruben Tejada will once again enter Spring Training as the favorite to start at SS despite fans clamoring for an acquisition at the position. Sandy Alderson has remained firm on his view that he is not open to an acquisition at SS (e.g. Alexei Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera etc) if it does not represent a significant upgrade over the options on the current roster.

After finishing .500 with a 25th ranked offense that consistently failed to score runs, overtaking the Nationals in the NL East will be more challenging than ever. This is especially true considering the Nationals have had an off-season full of high profile acquisitions headlined by former Met Daniel Murphy and Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

Aside from the Nats, the early favorite in the National League is the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are fresh off of beating the Nationals in the NL Divisional Series, taking out the Dodgers for the NL pennant, and going on an unexpected run to the World Series before losing to the Kansas City Royals in 6 games. In addition to retaining Dexter Fowler, Starlin Castro and the other core players from their NL Championship team, the Cubs added Jason Heyward, John Lackey and traded Jorge Soler for Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians in an effort to bolster their rotation.

The Nationals have added to their already talented roster in the hopes of winning the NL East for the third year in a row. The Cubs are brimming with confidence and feel they are ready to take the final step to win a World Championship. The Mets just hope that in 2016 they can finally take a step forward and show their fans that the franchise is finally trending in the right direction.

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The story above represents a not so far-fetched Parallel Universe that the Mets could easily exist in right now if not for a few key events.

hawking

I’m not a physicist so I won’t pretend to understand the actual feasibility of the existence of this alternate reality. However, I do know that the Mets were a doctor’s blessing away from that Gomez for Wheeler/Flores trade. A trade the Astros made just a few days after the Mets rejected the deal. Now in hindsight, we can all confidently say that the acquisition of Gomez would not have had the impact that the Cespedes deal had on the Mets 2015 season. Hell there’s almost nobody that could have had the impact of Cespedes.

We also know that in November, the Mets were a handshake and signature away from signing Ben Zobrist to play 2B. If the Mets had acquired Gomez instead of Cespedes at the 2015 deadline, its not likely that their off-season strategy would have changed that much. Clearly Mets management loved the versatility that Zobrist would have brought to the roster. And theoretically, if the Cubs had gone on a pennant run instead of the Mets, perhaps the Cubs offseason thinking would have changed. Maybe Starlin Castro has a big performance in the NLCS and the World Series and the Cubs decide to keep him in the fold, creating an opportunity for the Mets to actually finalize a contract with Zobrist.

The only thing separating the Mets from the mediocre parallel universe above and the sweet reality of the Cespedes acquisition, 90 win season, NL East crown, NL pennant, and ultimately World Series appearance is….dumb luck. That’s right. The Mets got a little bit of the Luck O’ the Maverick. Our quack team of doctors, for the first time ever, actually saw something concerning in their medical review and nixed the Gomez deal. Despite the Mets offering more money to the aging Zobrist, he could not resist the urge to return to his home state. Now the Cubs get to deal with the risks associated with giving an expensive contract to an aging player.

Luck is something we have hardly ever had in the history of the franchise (see: Seaver trade, Nolan Ryan trade, Gooden/Strawberry crack addiction, Bonilla signing, Mo Vaughn trade, Duaner Sanchez cab injury, Jason Bay‘s inexplicable deterioration, Ike Davis‘ magic career ending illness, owners being involved in a Ponzi scheme, and most recently David Wright‘s spinal stenosis. Just to name a few). However, it would seem with Sandy the Maverick at the helm, the Mets are finally beginning to see some random luck in this elegant universe that we inhabit. We just have to hope that the luck continues because without it, we may wind up getting sucked into an injury-riddled black hole of a season that takes us to the division cellar. But as Stephen Hawking said, “The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.” Let’s hope one of those possibilities is a 2016 World Series Championship.