The astronomical fall from grace is complete for the New York Mets even though rock bottom has seemingly been met on multiple occasions over the last two years.
Just three years ago, the Mets were slated to become a consistent force in Major League Baseball.
Behind a young, dominant pitching staff that included Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zach Wheeler, it wasn’t too farfetched to think that the Mets could challenge for the National League East for at least the next few seasons after making a magical run to the 2015 World Series. Especially after securing Yoenis Cespedes on a four-year deal.
But then the Mets, as only the Mets could do, began to… Mets. I know, that’s a confusing sentence but baseball fans know exactly what I’m talking about.
Injuries wiped out any chance of the five promising pitchers being featured in the same starting rotation for an extended period of time as every single one of those starters spent a considerable amount of time on the disabled list since 2015.
They continued to act like a small-market franchise despite competing in New York with the powerhouse Yankees. Fueled by ownership’s miserly tendencies and all-around lack of knowledge of how to run a winning team, the Mets refused to go after big names and clear upgrades for a team that has plenty of holes.
Yet they still made the National League Wild Card Game in 2016, just the second time in franchise history they made the playoffs two-straight years.
Mets fans celebrated the fact that they made the playoffs two years in a row.
That’s how mediocre this franchise is. That’s how inept of owners the Wilpons are.
Things have come crashing back down to Earth for the franchise since the start of the 2017 season. Which is a return to normalcy if we’re being honest.
Following a 70-92 campaign last year, the Mets have the least amount of wins in baseball as of July 4 despite starting the season 11-1.
Matz and Wheeler have battled inconsistencies after overcoming a litany of injury issues. Syndergaard is also battling a finger problem that has held him out since May 25 after it was forecasted as a minor setback.
Matt Harvey’s antics in and away from the clubhouse coupled with injuries that led to such poor play jeopardized his relationship with the organization so badly that he was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds earlier this year.
Jason Vargas, brought on to bolster the rotation should injuries strike, has proven to be a disaster of a signing as a calf injury mercifully put a 2-6, 8.60 ERA campaign on hold.
Cespedes has played in just 118 games since the start of the 2017 season. That’s on pace for 59 games per year which is in no way deserving of that $110 million he will receive over the life of his contract that will expire at the end of the 2019 season.
This of course could somehow justify the cheapskate Wilpons’ reasoning as to why they don’t spend money on quality players, by the way.
Instead, they’ve trotted out over-the-hill veterans like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes and Vargas this year, all of whom are over the age of 35. Then again, that also has something to do with the shortcomings that first-year manager Mickey Callaway has shown throughout his first half season as a big-league boss.
Don’t forget the franchise’s inability to develop its best non-pitching prospects. Shortstop Amed Rosario, one of baseball’s most highly-touted talents a year ago is batting just .245 this year. First baseman Dominic Smith, the team’s second-best prospect, has a career batting average of .202 in 67 games.
The farm system is basically barren as Tim Tebow is making more news in double-A than promising first-base prospect Peter Alonso, who should be in the big leagues at this point.
And now here are the Mets, their season already over in early July as fans brace for a firesale and the dreaded word,”rebuild.”
With the recent sobering news of general manager Sandy Alderson’s health that saw him take an immediate leave of absence last week, assistant GM John Ricco has already made it known that the Mets will listen to trade offers on both deGrom and Syndergaard.
Even with Syndergaard injured, the two righties are two of the only salvageable things about this trainwreck of a franchise.
DeGrom should be a favorite for the National League Cy Young Award if he had any semblance of support. Despite an MLB-best 1.84 ERA, the 30-year-old is just 5-4 on the season.
That’s embarrassing. And he’s annoyed.
Following a 5-2 loss to the Marlins, deGrom even admitted that he was “frustrated” and “tired of losing.”
There will surely be countless Mets fans pleading for management to hold on to deGrom and Syndergaard and I completely get that. You’re facing the possibility of dealing away two generational arms in the span of a month and relegating the team to the depths of irrelevance once again.
But with the state this team is in now, holding on to either deGrom or Syndergaard would be doing them a disservice. Send them to a contender where their talents can be utilized to actually win. Even if it means sending one of them to the Yankees, which would make even the most casual Mets supporter nauseous.
Don’t end with just them, though. Once he’s healthy, see if anyone wants Cespedes for a year and a half. Get rid of Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera, anything that can provide a return of something.
Clean house in the minor leagues, get a new development staff in where promising talent can meet their actual potential. And in the process of cleaning out the MLB roster, those trades could bring in a bevy of youngsters that can move this organization in the right direction in a year or two.
Let’s be honest, the Wilpons aren’t going to sell the team no matter how much people yell and scream about it. This is the cheap way to bring some hope to a franchise that has none of it, which is right up this shameful ownership’s alley.