Aug 27, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson speaks at a press conference before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

What Is Holding The Mets Back In 2014?


The Mets defeated the Miami Marlins on June 21st by the score of 4-0. Jacob deGrom continued a string of strong efforts by New York’s starters, allowing 5 hits and striking out 7 over 7 innings. DeGrom followed impressive outings by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Zack Wheeler, the latter having pitched a complete-game shutout against Miami just two nights before. However, the Mets find themselves in last place on the first day of summer with a 34-41 record. In a year when the division is clearly up for grabs, what is keeping the Mets at the bottom of the NL East?

The Mets’ pitching is not the culprit for the team’s record. Going into action on June 20th, the Mets’ starters had a cumulative ERA of 3.71, and their relievers had an ERA of 3.35. More recently, over their last 28 games (going into June 20th), Mets’ pitchers had posted an ERA of 2.95, 4th lowest in the majors over that time span. When the pitching is performing well and the team is not winning consistently, the offense becomes the focal point.

The Mets’ offense has several areas of concern. David Wright is not having a typical season. Through June 20th, Wright has 6 home runs, and a triple slash of .269/.330/.382. Chris Young has not lived up to $7.25 million of expectations, with 4 home runs and a triple slash of .202/.285/.315. The list goes on, and includes players such as Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda. However, 2 positions in particular have been largely devoid of offensive production, shortstop and catcher.

Mets shortstops have 3 home runs are and triple slashing at .221/.310/.289. Ruben Tejada has roughly 2/3 of the shortstop at bats, and is striking out nearly 21% of the time. While Tejada has a respectable OBP of .337, his .220 average indicates that much of his OBP is comprised of walks (he walks about 14% of the time). Wilmer Flores, called up for his offense, has been disappointing. He is batting .230 with just 1 home run over 77 at bats.

Mets catchers are struggling even more than their shortstops. Combined, Anthony Recker, Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Centeno, and Taylor Teagarden are batting .190 with 6 home runs. They have a combined OBP of .262 and a slugging percentage of .265. D’Arnaud was sent to Triple-A on June 7th, and has done very well. However, until he shows better production at the major league level (.180 with 3 home runs when he was sent down), what the Mets can get from d’Arnaud remains an unknown.

So what’s the answer? It’s becoming a tired discussion to point to the plethora of pitching the Mets have (both in Flushing and Las Vegas) and say that they should trade a pitcher or two for some offense. There’s no doubt that an upgrade at shortstop would be welcome. Nick Franklin‘s name has been rumored for months as a potential target, but nothing has happened. The Mets seem committed to d’Arnaud, so an acquisition at catcher seems unlikely. At a recent season ticker holders’ event, Sandy Alderson talked about the value of strength in numbers with pitchers, making an in-season trade seem unlikely.

Logically, it’s easy to agree with Alderson’s stance on trading pitchers. Emotionally, it’s a different story. There’s an opportunity here and now in a soft division, and yet the Mets seem unwilling to go “all in”. The opportunities for improvement are clear. The trade chips are in place. Deals can be made now that will not increase payroll significantly, and will help the team for years. But Alderson seems hesitant to act.

There are 6 weeks until the trading deadline. Something may happen. However, it just seems more likely that nothing will until after the 2014 season.

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Tags: Curtis Granderson Daisuke Matsuzaka David Wright Jacob DeGrom Lucas Duda

  • Joe_Bourgeois

    It’s not a question of “increase payroll significantly.” It’s a question of “increase payroll at all.”
    Prove me wrong, please.

    • Ken Meoni

      You are right. Andy Martino just wrote an article wherein he states how the Mets will not make the big trade for Cargo, Stanton, Kemp, etc. Looks like they will trade for low salary, fringe players like, Donaldson, Moss, Zobrist.

  • Robert Lucena

    Gotta disagree with you about Flores. He plays only every fourth or fifth game. Not enough to get into a rhythmn. If Collins playing him for 2 weeks straight, guarantee he won’t be batting .220 and he’ll have some big games in there.

    • Ken Meoni

      Totally agree. I don’t know how Flores and Campbell are doing as well as they are given their playing time.

    • Robert Lucena

      The Mets are the only organization I see that call up players from Triple A just to sit them on the bench. Makes no sense to me at all. Whether it Flores, Cambell, Brown, Newenhuis, etc…Alderson calls them up and Collins puts them on the bench.

    • chums41

      Collins is delusional. He thinks by playing his veterans, he improves our chances of “winning 90 games” They can’t fire him fast enough. Flores should be playing full time to determine if he can hit consistently on the major league level.He talks about Tejada’s improvement and potential. Only a man who is delusional or completely clueless could consider Tejada anything more than an adequate back-up who would not be starting on any other team in the league and would probably be a back-up for 50% of the AAA teams.

    • chums41

      Bingo. Unfortunately that is obvious to everyone but the clueless Collins.

    • Robert Lucena

      Tejada playing everyday is a joke. His only potential is a .250 hitter, a couple of home runs and maybe 30 RBI. That’s it folks, that’s his ceiling. He may walk every now and then, but who cares? He’s batting 8th! Have no idea why Collins has such high regard for this guy. Flores should get the opportunity to play everyday. Guaranteed his numbers would be better than .250/2/30 over the course of a season.

    • chums41

      The reason Collins holds Tejada in such high regard is because Collins is a senile old idiot, who has never been a good manager. There is not a single baseball man who would rate Tejada over Flores in terms of hitting.

    • Robert Lucena

      Well said.

  • http://www.vitamincm.com VitaminCM

    They need a shortstop and a corner outfielder. Plus, they need Travis DarNoGood to do ANYTHING. Then, they’ll be a .500 team.

    • chums41

      Going into this year,they could have signed Byrd, James Loney and Kazmir, for $6mm less than Colon, Granderson and Young and been considerably better than they are now. Alderson completely misread the free agent market yet again. He is so overmatched by quakity GM’s that it is laughable and his two com-padres, former faiure GM’s Ricco and De Podesta are equally mediocre. Fire the three of them, bring in Michael Girsch, St Louis Cards assistant GM. Than fore Collins and bring up Wally Backman who has had consistent success on the minor league level and has helped to groom many of the young players on the Mets.

  • Not4Nutten

    Franklin has hands of stone and is not a proven big league’r, most teams struggle on offense at the SS and Catcher position! What’s Wrong you ask? Terrible Fielding, Bad Base Running, far too many strike outs not enough bunting and hit and running and more walks are needed. Get rid of the the third base coach and cut back on your swings, it is understood when a guy like Barry Bonds strikes out that he will come back and give you some power but Lucas Duda, David Wright (dies, after the seventh inning) EYJ they all swing from their heels and somebody tell Terry the CY cant hit bat him eighth Cant run and doesn’t cover Centerfield when he’s out there. Oh and lets give Kirk Neuwenheis another chance, the guy sleeps in the Park, He’s terrible!!!!!

    • Ken Meoni

      There is no way Abreu should be playing and not Kirk. I agree with everything you said.

  • lovemymets

    I can answer the lead question with two words: Sandy Alderson. He’s GOT to go.

  • lovemymets

    Trade d’Arnaud, and dump Chris Young and Curtis Granderson. I had to laugh when I read a quote of his that he’s “stopped swinging at bad pitches.” That’ll be the day!

    • Will DeBoer

      Granderson has a .900 OPS since May and you want to…cut this person?

    • lovemymets

      That’s NOW. You know it won’t last. Ugh. Too much $$$ for too little return.

    • Will DeBoer

      No, I don’t know that it won’t last. Granderson’s OPS in his previous six full seasons was .846. Last year he was injured for most of the season. Yes, he struggled in April. While adjusting to a new league and home ballpark after an injury season. But now he’s figured it out. Curtis may not be the 40-homer guy he was in the Bronx Little League park, but he’ll hit 20-25 home runs this year, which is what we signed him to do.

    • lovemymets

      You’re quite the optimist! While he’s great defensively, those strike-outs and that fourth year of his contract are going to KILL us.

    • Will DeBoer

      I’ll give you the fourth year won’t be great. We can blame the offseason market for that; it’s why Colon got a second year too. All things considered 4-yrs, $60 mil wasn’t too bad. At least we’re not paying him $20 million into his 40s (looking at you, Mariners & Angels).

    • lovemymets

      I didn’t want him, Colon or Chris Young. All wasted money that could’ve been spent elsewhere. Why didn’t the Yankees want Granderson back when their right-field porch was perfect for him? They could’ve saved money on not signing Beltran and Ellsbury and just re-signed him. Makes you think about that, no? Plus I am SO sick of broken promises of better days ahead, Next year, they say. Always next year. If I didn’t have so much time invested in this team, I would’ve bailed years ago. :)

    • lovemymets

      You’re quite the optimist! That fourth year is going to kill us. I didn’t want him in the first place. While his defense is great, his offense leaves a LOT to be desired. Those strike-outs are KILLING us.

  • chums41

    What’s holding the Mets back Rich?? Are you serious? That idiot Alderson is what is holding us back. His off season “geoics” indicate that he and the other two failure might be the worst GM triumvirate in baseball!! They signed the 3 worst possible free agents on the market this past winter and you’re wondering what’s holding us back. Clearly you are an idiot too!!

    First he signs Chris Young, a lifetime .234 hitter whose career has been spiraling downward since 2010. Next he signs Granderson, who hasn’t hit above .250 since 2008 and whose 40+ Yankee Stadium HR’s will translate into 20-25 HR’s at Citi. So we pay $60mm for a .225 hitter whose HR production will be 1/2 of what it was during the 2011-12 seasons. Finally, he passes on Hudson and Kazmir to sign Colon. Please don’t even attempt to tell me that he’s been pitching so well of late. Don’t even try it! Essentially we signed a 40 year old pitcher who is the most out of shape player in the league for the same money we could have signed the 30 year old Kazmir or the incredibly athletic Hudson. Collins, bring in a credible GM from this decade and promote Wally Backman to manager. Than we might not suck quite so much.

  • chums41

    I meant “Heroics”