May 9, 2013; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) relieves starting pitcher Dillon Gee (35) during the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. Mets won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are a Disaster at the Moment…Now What?


The Mets started the season 7-4.  Since then, they’ve gone 7-16.  After today’s loss to Pittsburgh dropped their record to 14-20, they found themselves a season low six games under .500.  As Terry Collins pointed out in his postgame press conference, the Mets’ starting pitching and offense has been woeful lately.  When you combine those two factors, it becomes almost impossible to win.  So, now what?

There are fans who are responding in a ho-hum way, bothered by the losing and the on field performance, but focused on the bigger picture of 2014 and beyond.  There are those who are screaming bloody murder about the shortcomings of every executive, coach, and player, and there are many who fall somewhere in-between.  There’s no excuse to be made for the way the Mets are currently playing.  Their offense has been anemic and the starting pitchers (aside from Matt Harvey) are in the midst of a brutal stretch.  The failure of four of the five starting pitchers is leading to more stress on a bullpen that isn’t equipped to handle it.  The result hasn’t been pretty.  There are two things that need to be pointed out.  The first is the following:

I know there are fans out there who don’t want to hear this, fans who refuse to give the Wilpon’s or Sandy Alderson a free pass for failing to field a team worthy of our money, but I’m going to say it: 2013 is a transition year.  It always has been.  The Mets have been shedding payroll the last few years while building up their minor league system.  It’s expected that 2014 will be the first year the team is truly competitive.  Now, does that mean the fans who are angry with the on field product don’t have a right to be?  Of course not.  It’s reasonable to expect a great product, especially in New York.  However, the above statement regarding this year being one of transition isn’t my opinion – it’s a fact.  The sooner fans come to grips with that, the better.

The second thing that needs to be pointed out is that although it may not seem like it, it’s highly unlikely that the Mets will be this tough to watch and this terrible for the majority of the year.  Yes, the outfield is a mess and the bullpen is in flux (though not nearly as bad as it’s been made out to be).  When you look at just how bad the Mets have been recently, though,  it’s almost impossible to believe – and that means it’s unlikely to continue for the duration.

The rotation will not be this ridiculously bad for much longer.  Jonathon Niese had a 3.31 ERA before his last two starts (one that he pitched through while in pain, another that he pitched through with a mechanical flaw) before seeing it balloon to close to 6.00.  Once Niese is right, the results should be fine.  Dillon Gee has been better of late.  One of the under-performers, I’d guess Shaun Marcum, will be replaced by Zack Wheeler within the month.  That will leave the Mets with a top three of Harvey, Niese, and Wheeler.  Not so bad.

The offense, while nothing to write home about, was expected to be middle of the road.  While Ike Davis has floundered early this season just like he did in 2012, he’s been joined by fellow slump addled players Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada.  Murphy is 2 for his last 27 and has seen his OBP slip to .298.  Tejada is hitting .236.  The Mets have become allergic to multiple hit innings, seemingly incapable of mustering more than three runs per game.  That will improve.

With that said, it’s highly unlikely the team will reach a point this season where they’re considered anything more than mediocre or average.  That’s incredibly hard for fans to take.  And it’s understandable that a fan base as passionate as the Mets’ is screaming for action.  Well, what kind of action is merited?  If the team stops playing hard or his poor moves dictate it, Terry Collins should be fired.  Any player whose play suggests he doesn’t deserve a spot on the roster should be replaced with someone from the minors who can be evaluated.  Aside from that, there’s not much the Mets can or should really do at this point.

Currently, the Mets have a manager who may or may not be back after the season (along with his coaching staff).  They have a rotation that will likely soon include Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese, and Zack Wheeler.  Barring something strange happening, those three will be in the rotation in 2014 and beyond.  On the offensive side of things, there’s one player who’s the centerpiece (David Wright), one who will likely be here in 2014 (Daniel Murphy), and one in the minors who big things are expected from (Travis d’Arnaud).  In the pen, Bobby Parnell has emerged as a reliable closer and Scott Rice has become a reliable lefty specialist.  Before his injury, Jeurys Familia was showing flashes of putting it together.  The team will have money to spend after the season to fill needs, and indications are that they will.

When you read the above paragraph with the understanding that 2013 is a transition year, thinking about the team’s recent struggles ,14-20 record, and inaction, is easier to handle.  However, when you spend each day invested in the team for hours at a time, it’s easy to get lost in how bad they’ve performed and to demand both accountability and action.

Fans have a right to be disgusted with the current play of the team.  It’s OK for them to be upset that there are placeholders in the outfield and minor league quality starting pitchers in the rotation who are masquerading as major league starting pitchers.  What shouldn’t be lost, though, is the big picture.

2013 is a transition year.  Transitions rarely happen without bumps along the way, and the Mets are going to hit a bunch of them.  Fans just have to hope that the process the team has gone through over the last few years will bear fruit sooner rather than later.  It’s an annoying waiting game and it often sucks.  But it’s the situation the Mets are currently in.

Commentary from Rich Sparago:

I agree that 2013 was to be a transition year, and we were wise to have modest expectations. But the quality of this ballclub, meaning both personnel and play on the field, is not acceptable, even in a transition year.

Unlike 2009, when the team was decimated by injuries (Reyes, Delgado, Beltran), the Mets chose to put this team on the field. The GM was quite up front in his commentary about the outfield, yet did nothing to address the situation. There were options available (such as Michael Bourn), and these options were declined. Yes, it may have cost money, draft picks, or players to improve, but even a modest improvement was necessary.

We can weather this storm. We weathered the late 70s, early 80s, early 90s, and mid 2000s. But my concern is the increasingly apathetic fan base. Citi Field is becoming a ghost town, and it shouldn’t be that way. Fans respond to messages that the team is accountable for its product. The organization needs to be aware of that when making its decisions.

 

 

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  • Reese Kaplan

    If it’s a transition year then play the younger players who MIGHT have a future such as Valdespin and Lagares. Bury the ones who have no future like Marlon Byrd and Latroy Hawkins at the bottom of the depth chart.

  • Maggie Wiggin

    No team is as good as they look when they’re winning or as bad as they look when they’re losing. This is going to be a tough season in a lot of ways, no question. As hard as it is in times like this, we just have to be patient, see if players that might have value going forward can get into grooves. And while the losses hurt, I know it makes me feel better to pick out at least one positive from each game. Murphy having a good day at the plate yesterday, Wright making some excellent defensive plays on Saturday, etc. The bad is hard to miss, but it’s worth searching for the good, at least for sanity’s sake.

    • philipag

      Right. And the truth is that it takes at least 4 yrs to rebuild a farm system.
      When Doubleday and Wilpon bought the ream in 1980 they hired Frank Cashen to rebuild the system and they didn’t compete until 1984. But once they turned the corner they stayed contenders for 8 or so years.
      The guys Sandy drafted or signed are mostly in A ball .He has been able to get some high ceiling guys in trades and we should start seeing the fruits of that later this season – Wheeler and D’Arnaud. Yes – Sandy has made some bad signings – but he’s also been forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel for discounts.

    • Sam Maxwell

      One thing you can certainly say about 80-84 is The Mets didn’t have nearly close to the exposure the have on a daily basis these days because of the media world we live in. Hence, more freakouts.

    • philipag

      Good point. Blogs, talk radio, soc media – it all tends to make folks overreact on a daily basis.

    • Sam Maxwell

      This is the most rational comment I have seen so far…but I bet one could argue it’s the most insane comment so far, hahaha.

      Sounds like life, doesn’t it?

      Maybe that’s just it. Life and how we handle it can be summed up by the way we react to the daily happenings of the Mets.

  • NYMinPittsburgh

    You wouldn’t know it was a transition year by their ticket prices. I will never set foot in Citi Field. I would rather travel to see the mets at other ballparks. They have used up all of my goodwill and patience. they don’t deserve a pass for the poor product they put on the field this year because iti s a “rebuilding” year. they could have put out a reasonably entertaining team out there

    As for their “rebulding” Harvey, Niese (who has looked bad), Parnell, and Wheeler (when he gets here) are the only guys that really have any future with the Mets as younger players. The rest are AAAA players at best. And the mets have very few hitting prospects and their best one is a catcher with a history of injury problems and is 24 yo and hasn’t even gotten to the majors yet. I have a feeling the next 2 yrs will also be rebuliding

    • IkesAnkle

      You are right. Alderson has spun a story of faith for the Mets fans. As if a team with no major league talent and depth in the farm system will mystically improve at the mere sight of Wheeler and D’arnaud. We won’t have the money to replace an entire outfield, half the infield, some starting pitching the the entire bullpen. Its not possible. We will be terrible next year and most likely 2015.

    • mauryfeldman

      Your list of talented young players is pretty brief. Inclusion of Wheeler suggests you’re including minor leaguers. Well, I think D’Arnaud, Flores, Syndergaard, Montero, and Fulmer should be included then.

      It’s true that the Mets’ farm system is not elite, despite excellent vets-for-prospects trades. Alderson is going to have to answer for that before long. The Mets’ offense is terrible, and won’t be getting better any time soon without help from free agency (and there won’t be much help in the near future).

    • NYMinPittsburgh

      i was only talking about players in majors or who should be up at some point this yr. the others you bring up are still 1-2 yrs away and some have not even gotten above low A ball yet so i am skeptical of next yr and am considering it another rebuildinh yr

  • IkesAnkle

    I understand this is a “transition year” and that it is assumed the Mets will spend next year. I simply don’t see how they will spend enough to improve the team to a competitive level. Attendance will be an all-time Citi Field low this year. Wilpon has stated himself that payroll will rise in accordance with attendance…which will happen after the team is playing better. I really think we are just crossing our fingers in hopes that Wheeler and D’arnaud somehow save the team and things turn around. I think its blind faith. I guess we hope next year things turn around with our youth and then maybe we spend in 2015.

    • http://twitter.com/D_Abriano Danny Abriano

      The Mets should have about $35 million to spend after the year (that’s after taking arbitration raises into account) to get back to this years payroll total. I expect that money to be spent.

    • IkesAnkle

      I expect it to be spent as well, but that doesn’t mean it will be spent.

    • http://twitter.com/D_Abriano Danny Abriano

      Right…and we have a reason to be skeptical. I just can’t fathom them not spending. The fan vitriol would be insane

    • Maggie Wiggin

      They have nothing to gain from not spending. Even if they really didn’t care a lick about baseball and were thinking of it as a business situation only, this is the exact time you start re-investing in your business.

  • RoastPigeon

    ” Any player whose play suggests he doesn’t deserve a spot on the roster
    should be replaced with someone from the minors who can be evaluated.”

    So…who comes up to play 1B? LF? CF? RF? Starter #4? #5? Leadoff hitter? Who’d in the system ready to be evaluated, right now? Who’s got more promise that what’s on the bench, right now? Sorry, I don’t see the talent to be evaluated. the best they have is here and it stinks.

    • http://twitter.com/D_Abriano Danny Abriano

      The rotation will be bolstered by Wheeler, and McHugh has earned another chance as well. As far as the position players…that’s trickier. Lutz can help, den Dekker can come up once he’s healthy, Wilmer Flores should be called up…

  • Diane Kensworth

    I freaking hate what has happened to this franchise. They are actually not watchable and even though they have a couple of prospects they have refused to build around them with quality veterans. Sandy has been a total failure in my mind. This bull pen is terrible, the free agents he’s signed have been awful and this team is getting worse every year. The only good thing happening to the mets right now is Harvey and he was drafted by Omar. You didn’t have to be a GREAT GM to have traded for Wheeler anyone can look up their player ranking in the minors and see he was a no-brainer. Ask St. Louis what they think about Carlos Beltran, they LOVE HIM THERE! We’re looking at at least five years of garbage. I’m not blaming Collins we all know this smell starts at the top with the Wilpons and his puppet Sandy. I wish they would all just go away.

    • IkesAnkle

      I have season tickets as well and I’m losing my shirt on the games I can’t attend. Its a very bad investment to have them at this time and I may need to reconsider renewing after all these years if they don’t drop prices next year.

    • http://www.facebook.com/zablanc John Blanco

      Give credit to Sandy at least a little…he wasn’t OFFERED Wheeler, he bargained for Wheeler. That takes GM skill, that’s not anybody’s doing. Also, nabbing d’Arnoud and Syndergaard for Dickey looks brilliant now, too.

      I’m not a happy Met fan, and Sandy hasn’t brought in a single, productive FA — but don’t dismiss the Wheeler trade as a no-brainer.

    • NYMinPittsburgh

      he should get credit for both trades no doubt and trading high on RA was a good move…however the one part of the team he made it a point to improve and invest in was the bullpen and that has been disaster. And as a previous Terry supporter I have to say he needs to share in some of the blame, his handling of the pen this year has been really poor. But he has been dealt a terrible hand from management

    • mauryfeldman

      Yes, you did have to be a pretty good GM to hold out for Zack Wheeler when the Giants certainly would rather have given you Francisco Peguero.

  • http://twitter.com/ifti99 ifti99

    “The Mets have been shedding payroll the last few years while building up their minor league system.”

    Right, but here’s the problem: You can’t compete with a $40MM payroll (which is roughly where the Mets are minus Santana and Bay). Additionally, I’m sorry, but I don’t see this great buildup in the minor leagues. Harvey was already there. We traded for D’Nauad, Wheeler and Syndagaard, and none of them have played a single major league game yet. therefore, it is rather premature to count on them for 2014. We have very little in the way of hitting in the minors. In fact, the guys we have brought up (Capt. Kirk, Valdespin, Baxter, etc.) have not been all that impressive. Let’s face it. Our minor leagues have been pretty much a disaster since Reyes and Wright. Hopefully, Harvey (who looks like a number one but it’s still early), Wheeler (who knows?) and Niese (who looks like a number 3) will change things around.

    The reality is, unless the Mets decide to spend at least $100MM next year on at least three OFs, an infielder, at least one starter and at least three relievers, we are going to suck. Badly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.quemere John Quemere

    It’s not even a “transition” year it’s a “sacrifice” year but they can’t say that to the fan base. Next year will be the first “transition” year. I doubt Terry Collins will be here next year, he looks completely worn out and old and tired. I think he was just hired as a clean up man anyway.

    The Mets are paying about $43 million dollars to Santana & Bay. They’re paying Frank Francisco $6.5 million. That’s about $50 million in lost salary. The Mets have a $93 million dollar payroll but they essentially are working with a $43 million dollar payroll in 2013.

    Other than Wright, Harvey and Parnell this team is mostly terrible. Baxter would be good in a platoon role and Turner is a decent bench player. I don’t know what Valdespin is. Overall, it’s almost an unwatchable team.

    The lineup is terrible. When Baxter plays he should be batting lead-off. Ike should be batting no higher than 6th in a platoon against righties. Duda should probably be batting 2nd.

    To me there is way too much a sense of entitlement on this team.

    Duda is a good offensive player but he’s a horrible outfielder. He’s a DH/1b American league player.

    Ike Davis is lost. He’s too stubborn and cocky for someone who’s only had one good year in the big leagues. His whole batting stance & approach should be changed. He probably should be in triple A.

    Murphy is a terrible fielder who doesn’t draw walks an has no power and has no speed. He has to hit .310-.330 to have value. He’s not a second basemen and he’s almost 30 years old. There’s no future with Murphy.

    Buck is a stop gap and had a fluky first 2-3 weeks. Buck’s a below average defensive catcher with a .235 lifetime average & .300 on base % and about a 15-20 hr guy.

    Tejada is an average fielding SS with a .265 avg and a .330 on base percentage with no power or speed. He’s not even playing up to that standard this year. Why he’s batting lead off is mind boggling? Is it because he’s short and SS?? He doesn’t get on base and he’s not fast. And the Mets always bat the 2b second in the line-up for some reason.

    They have no center fielder. They have a bunch of quadruple A type players coming and going.

    I don’t understand the point of a 35 year old Marlon Byrd on this team? Baxter should be playing much more and batting lead off. He should be in a platoon in right field with a young right handed batter.

    Shawn Marcum has been a disaster and I really don’t understand paying him $4 million this year. Really what’s the point? He’s 35 and has no future with the team.

    The rest of the starting staff is terrible. Niese has taken a big step backwards so far. I don’t understand the love affair with Dillon Gee, he stinks. Marcum was a waste of money and kind of pointless. They might as well promote Colin Mchugh and let him pitch.

    • Sam Maxwell

      Buck being a below average defensive catcher is laughable, based on what I have seen out of him this year. He needs to be lower in the batting order now that he’s calmed down and to add power to the bottom of the lineup, but his defense, especially after the last few years at catcher, has been refreshing and ABOVE average.

  • John

    we are going nowhere. transition year, no transition year, sacrifice year, no sacrifice year. who gives a crap. reality of it is that the nationals and braves are young and will be not good – but great – for at least the next 4-5 years. we can be positive all we want but unless we sign actual GOOD players who can play baseball besides d-wright (murphy sucks, tejada is rey ordonez on roids, davis can’t hit anything, and so on and so on) we will be no better than a 3rd place team even when if we do somehow win 85 games. 3 years from now, what we consider a “good” season will get us nowhere but middle of the pack in the NL East. unless you sign some studs and spend money in the next 2 years, we are going to waste Harvey, D-Wright, and Wheeler.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.brennan.900 Chris Brennan

    Explain to me a scenario where this team is competitive next year? They need 3 outfielders, a first baseman, and half a bullpen. Who are they going to sign? All you have are hypotheticals like well Jon Niese will do this and “if” Ike can do that. This team passed on Michael Bourne which at the very least would’ve given us one Major League starting outfielder not to mention a leadoff hitter. I’m not sure where the Mets get the audacity charging big league prices to watch this garbage minor league squad. Its okay because this is a transition year and everything will be better next year. Keep telling yourself that.

  • mcaraballo

    I have a question though what do Mets fans do when its 2014 we got excited we spent money and got players yet still suck? what is the solution then? what is a Mets fan to do? I have been supporting this team more the past five bad years. if next year is bad I think its time to stop supporting.